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This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

ADVANTAGE LIFE PRODUCTS' CHOLESTCONTROL WILL BE SOLD AT OSCO pharmacy counters, adding another 660 stores where the cholesterol management product will available, Laguna Hills, Calif.-based Advantage announced April 20. The addition of the Osco drug chain now puts CholestControl in more than 7,500 stores across the country including Eckerd, Albertson grocery store pharmacies and, beginning in March, in 2,250 Kmart outlets, according to Advantage. The CholestControl product includes a "motivational, educational and behavior modification audio cassette tape," a program guide, a cholesterol and fat counter booklet, 30 time- released caplets containing 250 mg each of niacin and rice bran, and a 10-day supply of multivitamins, according to a package insert. The suggested retail price of CholestControl is $ 14.95; additional supplies of the niacin/rice bran caplets can be purchased separately at a suggested retail price of $ 6.95 per 30- count package. Advantage's promotional materials for the product claim that niacin/rice bran caplets provide "the most effective nonprescription supplements available to help manage cholesterol." The company said it soon plans to make garlic tablets available as well for CholestControl as an option for consumers who have been instructed by a physician to avoid niacin/rice bran. The company said the product is intended for use after a consumer has been tested for cholesterol and consulted with a physician. CholestControl will be promoted through national "direct response commercials" on cable television beginning in late April. The product also will be supported through national print ads, spot radio and TV, and network radio. The product is available in floor and counter displays that urge consumers to "Take control of your health." Advertising and promotion are being handled in- house. The company's promotional and public relations efforts for CholestControl include a consumer test in Heartwell, Neb., a town of 100 people that has been asked by Advantage to test their blood cholesterol levels and then sample the product. Sixty Heartwell residents have agreed to try the CholestControl program beginning on May 15, an Advantage spokesperson said. Commercials based on the Heartwell promo will be filmed in August for broadcast in early 1994, the spokesperson added. The firm also is putting together a scientific advisory board and hiring a dietician to help promote the product. In a reference to the recent approval of Whitehall/ChemTrak's Cholestrac OTC cholesterol test ("The Tan Sheet" March 8, p. 9), Advantage observed in its release that "there is a growing number of noncompetitive cholesterol management products hitting the market" that "will contribute to the development of an over-the- counter cholesterol management category." The Whitehall home test will be launched this summer. CholestControl is one of five "self care" products marketed by Advantage since late 1992: CigArrest Stop Smoking System, InsomAway Program to Help You Sleep, PMS Solution Premenstrual Syndrome Management System, and the Be Safe Program About the Facts and Prevention of HIV and AIDS. Most of the product line began to reach stores during the second half of 1992. The CigArrest smoking cessation product is sold as a two-step program containing "smoking deterrent" tablets, gums and lozenges based on lobeline sulfate .3 mg as the active ingredient as well as educational materials. Called the "#1 advertised product in the category" by Advantage, CigArrest will be supported by 30- and 60- second retail tag spots on national TV in May, and an ad in TV Guide beginning on May 22. Print and radio spots for CigArrest also will be launched in May. Advantage recently licensed rights to CigArrest to Regal Communications, an "infomercial" producer that will handle some of the advertising for the product. In exchange, Advantage received 370,000 shares of Regal common stock valued at approximately $ 2.3 mil. and retains marketing responsibility for the product. InsomAway is comprised of an instructional guide, an audio cassette, 12 "sleeping aid caplets" (diphenhydramine 25 mg) and a 10-day supply of multivitamins and carries a suggested retail price of $ 14.95. Additional supplies of the InsomAway sleeping aid caplets are sold separately at a suggested retail price of $ 5.95 for a 12-count package. InsomAway ads run on network radio, spot radio and TV and national print ads and ask, "Are you tired of being tired?" and offer a toll-free number to call for additional information. Cable TV spots will run from the end of May through the end of July on national cable stations including ESPN, CNN, WWOR and WGN, Advantage said. PMS Solution contains a program guide, audio cassette, 20 "maximum strength pain relievers" (ibuprofen 200 mg) and a 10-day supply of multivitamins for a suggested retail price of $ 14.95. Additional 20-count ibuprofen bottles can be purchased at a suggested retail price of $ 4.95. PMS Solution will be promoted by network radio, spot radio and TV, network cable TV and national print advertising. Print ads will offer a toll-free phone number and feature a drawing of a frazzled-looking woman underneath the tagline: "It must be that time of the month. . ." At a suggested retail price of $ 9.95, the company also sells an HIV/AIDS educational product called Be Safe whose target market is educators, parents and students. The company advertises the product in radio ads, spot TV ads, network cable TV and national print ads.

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