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WHITEHALL POSITIONING PREPARATION H TO BE NEXT EURO-BRAND

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

WHITEHALL POSITIONING PREPARATION H TO BE NEXT EURO-BRAND with a launch in Spain targeted for mid-June and license applications pending in Greece and Scandinavia, Whitehall Group VP-Europe Gavin Bell told a Drug Information Association meeting May 24 in Philadelphia. The company hopes to launch in Greece and Scandinavia by the end of the year. Whitehall is supporting its Euro-brand approach with continent-wide television ads, beamed by satellite, that are running in Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, England, Holland, France and Germany. "At the heart of the European issue are two numbers -- 12,000, [which are] the number of OTC brands available in Europe and, five, the number of true Pan-European brands," Bell explained. The five Euro-brands, according to Bell, are Bayer aspirin, Alka- Seltzer, Rennie antacid, Kwai garlic supplements, and Strepsils throat lozenges. Bell suggested that Preparation H is "now able to be classified . . . as the sixth Pan-European OTC brand out of 12,000 in Europe." "The multinationals are taking pre-emptive action," Bell said. "Why have 17 production units in Europe with no commercial frontiers when you can maximize efficiencies by having just one?" he commented. While print ads for the product's general hemorrhoidal use are not uniform throughout Europe, Bell reported that Whitehall recently introduced a print ad campaign targeting pregnant women that is running in all countries where the product is marketed. Preparation H "has long been a brand leader in its category . . . and is also well represented in many markets in Europe," Bell said. However, the company in the past marketed the product with distinct ad campaigns in every market in Europe because of differing advertising requirements in each country. "Each Whitehall company in Europe, as with most multinationals in Europe, has operated on an autonomous basis," he noted. The Pan-European television ad, he noted, "is creatively rather unexciting because it has to concur with the legal requirements for every market." Whitehall said that the budget for the television ads are being allocated across the different Whitehall European offices based on percentage of sales of the product in that country. Young & Rubicam's U.K. office is handling the ad campaign. Whitehall's European divisions have been standardizing the product's formulation, packaging and advertising over the past two-to-three years, Previously, the product carried a different brandname in Holland, Portugal and Germany (Sperti H); came in nine different tube sizes; was formulated as a yellow ointment in some countries and a white ointment in others; and, of the eight markets where the product was sold, there were five different formulas with "only slight differences but quite sufficient to warrant different applications/renewals to the regulatory authorities," Bell noted. For the pan-European launch, Whitehall began packaging the product in two tube sizes (25 g and 50 g). The ingredients and product claims are consistent throughout the European market so that the "brand name and pack graphics would be immediately recognizable to any European traveler . . . or American for that matter," Bell said. Additionally, Whitehall "has taken steps to register an identical formulae on all European markets," and all of the ointment is now white.
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