Marketing 50

St. Joseph aspirin

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Cheryl Callan, as director-consumer marketing services at Ortho-McNeil, spearheads the efforts for St. Joseph aspirin, the little pink pill that was formerly known as a medication for children but is now marketed far, far differently.

Backed by a team that also includes Ashley McEvoy, VP-OTC at McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, and Interpublic's Deutsch, St. Joseph has been marketed, like many aspirins, as an elixir for heart attacks, especially in the 81 mg that doctors most recommend. Earlier this year, the agency came up with the "Pump Your Blood" campaign, using an obscure song from an old "Happy Days" episode that was sung by the Potsie Webber character. The execution was hysterical, but serious. In the "Traveling Pill" spot, a man in a laboratory talks about heart attacks while strumming a banjo. Then an actual St. Joseph aspirin takes an animated trip through the body as the man sings, as Potsie did, "The right atrium's where the process begins, where the CO2 blood enters the heart. Through the tricuspid valve, to the right ventricle, the pulmonary artery and lungs . . ." and so on. In another spot, the man plays a ukulele.

Unconventional? Maybe. Nothing out of the norm for Ms. Callan, who once had runway models wear Johnson & Johnson's Evra birth control patches as part of a New York Fashion Week promotion when she was overseeing the brand.

Through the first six months of this year, spending on St. Joseph aspirin was on par with 2004- $14.7 million at the halfway point.

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