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SCHERING-PLOUGH WILL RELAUNCH 10 OLDER OTCs UNDER NEW LIBERTY CONSUMER GROUP

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

SCHERING-PLOUGH WILL RELAUNCH 10 OLDER OTCs UNDER NEW LIBERTY CONSUMER GROUP subsidiary beginning in the next couple of weeks. Schering-Plough HealthCare Products formed Liberty Consumer Group in January in an effort to rejuvenate 10 of the company's older brands: OcuClear sensitive eye treatment; Aspergum sore throat remedy; Cushion Grip denture adhesive; Chooz chewable antacid; Mexsana medicated powder; Complex 15 moisturizing lotion; Emko vaginal contraceptive foam; Sardo bath oil; Muskol insect repellant; and St. Joseph's Aspirin. In 1992, the 10 OTC brands generated sales of approximately $ 22 mil. Liberty said that it "hopes to double its current sales [for the 10 OTCs] within five years thanks to a synergistic, strategically sound" plan of "account specific programs . . . designed to reestablish these these brands with the trade." The 10 Liberty products will be rolled out one at a time with the first reintroduction to be announced in late April or early May, the group said. LCG said it is taking a close look at the market as it considers new packaging styles and a pricing strategy for the older brands. While the products will still bear the Schering-Plough label, Liberty will market the products to the trade as a "family." Consumer advertising, however, will promote the products individually. "The key to the success of these products will be identifying creative new means of product distribution," according to Liberty Consumer General Manager Nancy Katz, who formerly handled footcare and new product development for Schering-Plough. Assisted by two area sales managers (Eastern/Central and Southern/Western), Katz will head the approximately 200-person "dedicated and independent" sales force will be comprised of both Schering-Plough and independent brokers. Katz said the entrepreneurial team has "carte blanche as far as . . . ideas are concerned," although Liberty said it will receive financial and managerial support from Schering-Plough, as needed. During the first year of operations, Liberty says it plans to focus almost exclusively on "specific sales and distribution goals" for six brands: OcuClear, Aspergum, St. Joseph's, Mexsana, Complex 15, and Cushion Grip. The combined 1993 ad budget for the prioritized brands is approximately $ 4-5 mil., Schering said. Because Liberty's entire marketing focus will be on the small line of older products, the company said it will be able to campaign more aggressively for additional shelf space. Liberty said it will continue to target the traditional OTC and H&BA outlets and will support marketing with multimedia, direct-to- consumer advertising intended to launch "a rebirth of sorts [and regain] the top-of-mind recognition and consumer support that were evident two decades ago." Liberty also will handle marketing for the PAAS line of seasonal products. PAAS' 1992 sales were approximately $ 23 mil., according to Schering-Plough.
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