SMITHKLINE BEECHAM AIRING CITRUCEL TV SPOTS
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
SMITHKLINE BEECHAM AIRING CITRUCEL TV SPOTS beginning the week of Nov. 8 to emphasize the "advantages of Citrucel's unique fiber." The 15- and 30-second television commercials explain that Citrucel "will not ferment in the system," SmithKline said, and "cause additional gas and bloating like psyllium-based fibers do." The firm said it will devote the annual equivalent of $ 12 mil. for the Citrucel TV campaign, which is being handled by Ogilvy & Mather, New York. The spots are expected to run into 1994. Citrucel is one of 14 SmithKline OTC brands that is being highlighted through "creative" new advertising and marketing strategies under the firm's newly formed Three Rivers Group ("The Tan Sheet" July 19, p. 7). Citrucel, a methylcellulose-based bulk- forming laxative, competes with such products as Procter & Gamble's Metamucil, Ciba's Fiberall and Lederle's FiberCon. Recent entries into the bulk-forming laxative market include InAgra's "discount-priced" Restore and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer's Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy. Another Three Rivers Group brand that is receiving increased promotional attention is the Sominex diphenhydramine-based sleep aid. Test marketing for a Sominex 30-minute infomercial began in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. the week of Oct. 25. A 120-second TV spot began airing at the same time in the Atlanta and Seattle test markets. Designed by Leesburg, Va.-based marketing agency Mouncey Ferguson & Associates, the infomercial is essentially a "talk- show" called the "Cable Snooze Network's The Goodnight Show" that features a host and a five-person comedy-improvisation troupe that performs skits centering on sleep and sleep difficulties. "Snooze Briefs" are used as segues between the skits and provide viewers with suggestions on how to avoid sleep troubles, such as not drinking alcoholic beverages or exercising before bedtime. The infomercial host also interviews a sleep researcher. A toll-free number is periodically displayed on the screen through which viewers can order a catalog of sleep-related products such as pillows and sleep/relaxation audio tapes, as well as receive a coupon book for various SmithKline products including Tums, Contac and Aquafresh Sensitive. A "Snoozepaper" also is included with the catalog and coupons and provides consumers with general information on sleep. The 120-second spots are in a "man-on-the-street" format and emphasize the benefits of Sominex. A 30-second "tongue-in-cheek" television commercial also is being planned. The infomercial and the two-minute spot both air after midnight and will run for four weeks. If the spots are successful, SmithKline expects that they will be rolled out to additional U.S. markets in 1994. Sominex is available in 25 mg diphenhydramine tablets, 50 mg diphenhydramine capsules and in a Pain Relief Formula containing acetaminophen. SmithKline estimated Sominex brand retail sales at around $ 20 mil. in 1992. Among other brands under the aegis of the Three Rivers Group, Geritol multivitamins and Vivarin caffeine-based stimulant tablets and capsules also are tagged for increased advertising spending before the end of 1993. OsCal multivitamins are expected to receive traditional advertising support in the coming months.
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