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SMITHKLINE BEECHAM FORMS NEW MARKETING UNIT TO REJUVENATE "MID-SIZED" BRANDS

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

SMITHKLINE BEECHAM FORMS NEW MARKETING UNIT TO REJUVENATE "MID-SIZED" BRANDS on July 1. The as-yet-unnamed unit will take over the marketing of 14 older SmithKline Beecham brands including several former Marion Merrell Dow OTCs that are part of the two companies' 1992 joint venture agreement. The new unit will begin actively devising "creative" new advertising and marketing strategies for the mid-size brands in August. The brands placed under the new unit include: Geritol iron supplements; Vivarin caffeine alkaloid-containing stimulant tablets and caplets; Citrucel bulk-forming fiber laxative; Os-Cal calcium supplements; Sominex diphenhydramine-containing sleep aid; Sine-Off sinus medicine; Cepacol throat lozenges; Feosol hematinic elixir, tablets and capsules; Teldrin allergy capsules (chlorpheniramine); Novahistine cough/cold formulas; Debrox ear drops; Clear-By-Design medicated acne gel; Gly-Oxide canker sore liquid; and Orafix dental adhesive. Combined, the brands generate over $ 100 mil. in annual sales, SmithKline estimated. The group's first priority, SmithKline said, will be to develop a "more efficient" marketing program for the products, which, "because of other demands, have not received the attention required to maximize their contribution." The unit also is said to be considering increased advertising spending for the brands in 1994, but does not, at present, expect to change advertising agencies handling the products. SmithKline said that distribution of the mid-size brands also would not be modified. The Geritol, Sominex and Vivarin accounts have been handled by Leesburg, Va.-based advertiser Mouncey Ferguson & Associates since February. Sominex, for one, was included in a March free-standing insert along with brands such as Aquafresh and Tums that benefited Muscular Dystrophy Association Camps ("The Tan Sheet" March 22, In Brief). However, not all of the middle-tier products covered in the restructuring are currently receiving ad spending support. The new unit will be headed by Paul Fraioli, who will assume the post of VP and director of commercial operations-U.S. Fraioli previously served as VP and director of marketing for cough, cold and gastrointestinal products. Fraioli will report to SmithKline Beecham Consumer Brands North America President John Ziegler. Lisa Mason, formerly director of brand management for general medicines, has been named director of marketing for the unit, which will also include business managers, financial and sales people and sales brokers who will be hired from within SmithKline Beecham. The new group will be located in a separate area of SmithKline's Pittsburgh offices. In forming a new unit to focus on its older OTC brands, SmithKline Beecham is adopting an approach recently taken by Schering-Plough, which established its Liberty Consumer Group in January to relaunch 10 of its older OTC products including St. Joseph's Aspirin, Aspergum sore throat remedy, and OcuClear sensitive eye treatment ("The Tan Sheet" April 26, p. 3).
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