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This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

REXALL SUNDOWN TEST MARKETING "SUNDOWN INFORMATION CENTER," a digitalized computer audio box designed to explain to consumers the "workings and uses of vitamins and minerals," the Fort Lauderdale-based company announced in an Aug. 23 press release. The "Sundown Information Center" allows consumers to punch a key pad and a voice explains "in detail" the role of a particular vitamin or mineral supplement in the diet. The device also transmits "intermittent messages about" Rexall's products. Rexall has put together 70 two-minute messages covering 40 of the company's nutritional products. Each message includes information about how a particular product is made, what it contains and the role it plays in a person's diet. A Rexall Sundown spokesperson said that all of the messages have been reviewed by the company's legal counsel and that they are in accordance with FDA's views on the information that can accompany products. Launched in early August in several Florida store sites, Rexall plans to move 10 prototype units into mass merchandisers, supermarkets, drug chains and independents in different regions of the country over the course of the test marketing phase, which is expected to last six months. The product monitors how many times a particular item is queried and the time of day of each query. The information is then matched with store receipts to determine whether a purchase was made. Because the mechanism takes up approximately four-to-six product facings of shelf space, the test marketing phase is evaluating the audio box to determine whether its placement on shelf spaces makes up for potential lost product sales. So far, the company reported that usage of the device has been "dramatic" and that the audio box has enhanced sales. The displays are capable of being equipped with video tubes, Rexall said, and eventually the "Information Center" may include visual interactive devices to accompany the audio portion of the messages. Another marketing tool that the company is currently including as part of its product displays is a built-in magnifier to aid consumers when reading product fine print. Rexall is expecting to complete the purchase of Pennex' Verona, Penn. manufacturing plant by Sept. 30, the company said. The preliminary agreement was announced on Aug. 12 when Pennex filed a Chapter 1 1 petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. At that time, the company said the acquisition would be subject to "satisfactory completion of due diligence reviews, approval of the bankruptcy court and the receipt of any regulatory approvals" ("The Tan Sheet" Aug. 16, p. 19). In the interim, Rexall was interested in reviewing Pennex" customer base before declaring the deal final. The Verona facility will be Rexall Sundown's first manufacturing plant.





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