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RPR LEVERAGING MAALOX ANTACID FRANCHISE INTO THREE NEW G-I MARKETS

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

RPR LEVERAGING MAALOX ANTACID FRANCHISE INTO THREE NEW G-I MARKETS: anti-gas, anti-diarrheal and laxative. The three new product lines -- Maalox Anti-Gas, Maalox Anti-Diarrheal, and Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy -- are targeted for a late spring/early summer launch. In promotional materials, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer said that each product will receive "massive introductory support," as well as promotion within the larger Maalox family. New York City-based ad agency Angotti, Thomas, Hedge will handle the Maalox account for RPR. The firm intends to spend approximately $ 15 mil. on television advertising for the Maalox brand during 1993, in addition to "more than $ 1 mil. per month" on commercials for at least two of the launches. RPR also plans to support the product introductions with Maalox sales force detailing to health care professionals; in- store coupons; product refunds; introductory free-standing inserts for each product in August; and widely circulated FSIs for the entire Maalox line in October and in January 1994. Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy marks RPR's debut in the laxative market. The psyllium bulk formula is similar to Procter & Gamble's Metamucil, which faced off against Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy in premarket testing. Based on its market research, RPR believes that 32% of Metamucil users would "definitely" switch to Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy. RPR also is claiming that the product's "non-gritty formula" has more "appetite appeal" than P&G's Metamucil, Marion Merrell Dow's Citrucel and Ciba Consumer's Fiberall. Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy is being promoted as a "natural" product for "healthful regularity." The product is packaged in six varieties: citrus or orange flavored; sugar-sweetened or NutraSweet formula; and tablet or powder form. The firm estimated that psyllium-based products will claim 60% of all laxative sales by the end of 1993. Maalox Anti-Diarrheal represents the latest brand to include loperamide as the active ingredient (see related story, p. 3) and will be available in liquid form (2 and 4 oz. bottles) as well as caplets (6- and 12-count packages of 2 mg caps). Maalox Anti- Diarrheal will offer the only cherry flavored liquid in the anti- diarrheal market, according to RPR. Maalox Anti-Gas puts Maalox into a category that RPR estimates will reach $ 93 mil. in sales by the end of 1993. The product's sole active ingredient is simethicone. Maalox Anti-Gas Regular Strength has 80 mg of simethicone, while Extra Strength has 120 mg, an amount RPR claims is "20% more medicine than all other leading extra-strength products." Available in peppermint flavor, the antiflatulent will be marketed in tablet form only. The Extra Strength formula will be sold in 10- and 40-count packages, and Regular Strength in 12- and 48-count packages. RPR plans to introduce 10- and 12-count packages through a "Try Me Free" refund offer in hopes of having consumers "trade up to 'high margin' regular sizes." The firm also recently expanded the Maalox line with variations of its antacid formula: Maalox Caplets and Maalox HRF Heartburn Relief Formula tablets, RPR said. Ads for Maalox Caplets and Maalox HRF Heartburn Relief Formula tabs began airing March 10. Maalox Caplets contain 1 g of calcium carbonate, tapping into the same marketing strategy employed by SmithKline Beecham, which in the mid-1980s began to bill its calcium carbonate-containing antacid Tums as both an antacid and a dietary supplement. Maalox HRF Heartburn Relief Formula tablets follow up on RPR's 1992 launch of Maalox HRF Heartburn Relief Formula Liquid. The firm noted that both products work at night while "you are lying down, . . . the time when a significant number of people suffer their worst heartburn symptoms."

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