Top 10 UK OTC Marketing Stories 2022: Switch, Sustainability and Supplements
A countdown of the top-10 most read UK consumer health marketing news stories published by HBW Insight in 2022, revealing the product launches and campaigns which piqued the interest of our subscribers.
Haleon tapped into growing consumer demand for sustainable products with the launch of its Sensodyne Nourish range in the opening months of 2022.
Developed to address the needs of those “who want to maintain excellent oral care with the future in mind,” the Sensodyne Nourish Gently Soothing and Sensodyne Nourish Healthy White toothpastes contain “bio-active minerals” that “nourish and strengthen teeth,” according to Haleon.
Sensodyne Nourish Gently Soothing includes natural mint and aloe vera extracts “for a clean and soothing sensation,” Haleon explained, while Sensodyne Nourish Healthy White has natural mint and citrus oil “for a nourishing and cleansing sensation.”
With both products vegan-friendly and sold in fully recyclable packaging – tube, cap and carton – the Nourish range appeals to those consumers wanting to look after the long-term health of their teeth and the planet.
“There is an important role to play for Sensodyne in providing products that deliver effective solutions and help customers feel more confident about their teeth,” commented Sensodyne UK’s senior brand manager Eva Pass. “What’s more, consumers can feel confident that their toothpaste choice is also reducing their impact on the planet.”
Sensodyne Nourish caught the attention of the judges at the OTC Marketing Awards 2022, with the range highly commended in the Sustainable OTC Product of the Year category. “An excellent combination of natural ingredients with sustainable packaging materials for Sensodyne Nourish demonstrates that innovation can also be sustainable,” commented one judge.
Wren Laboratories said a desire to “capitalize on the new and increasing global appetite for gummies” was behind the UK launch of Optibac Adult Gummies (bacillus coagulans IS-2) at the start of the year.
Containing vitamin D, zinc and calcium, Optibac Adult Gummies also tapped into growing demand for immunity supplements.
“Adult Gummies has all the ingredients for success: gummy format, highly researched strain, added vitamin D, great taste, vegan, no hidden nasties and all in eco-conscious packaging,” Wren commented.
The launch of an Adult product followed the successful introduction of Optibac Kids Gummies last year. (Also see "Optibac Launches Natural Children’s Probiotic Immunity Supplement In Sustainable Pack" - HBW Insight, 5 Mar, 2021.)
“Hot on the heels of Kids Gummies, the company’s most successful launch ever in Spring 2021, Adult Gummies comes after great feedback from customers asking for their own ‘grown-up’ version,” Wren explained.
Stada Arzneimittel’s UK subsidiary Natures Aid expanded its dietary supplement offering in summer ’22 with the introduction of its Super Stars children’s range.
Super Stars includes both chewable tablets and liquids – child friendly formats which Stada said had “proved a hit” with parents and kids interviewed as part of Natures Aid’s consumer research. The company use only natural flavors, Stada added, and the chewable tablets are formulated with xylitol, which is tooth friendly.
Designed to be fun, with in-pack games and education about the benefits of vitamins and minerals, Stada said that the range aims to help children aged four to 12 “feel ready to take on the world.”
“Already leaders in infant nutrition, Natures Aid is pleased to launch Super Stars as the ideal follow-on range to the best-selling Mini Drops for infants and children aged 0 to five years,” Stada commented.
“The development of this innovative new range has been guided by 40 years of experience, supported by extensive consumer research, and shaped by feedback from real parents and kids.”
News of the return to mass market shelves of Blistex Relief Cream after an extended absence proved popular among HBW Insight readers in 2022.
UK distributor Ceuta Healthcare relaunched the popular lip care product from Blistex Inc. at the start of the year with a “substantial” marketing investment. This was centered on a multi-media communications campaign that included extensive online and “ambient advertising” – where adverts are paced on unusual objects or in unusual places – as well as further investment into working with Influencers across social media platforms.
Out-of-home advertising featured posters at selected locations including in high footfall pedestrianized shopping areas across the UK and sites with close proximity to selected retailers.
While Blistex had been unavailable, the company had received “thousands of messages and comments” from “desperate” Blistex users, Ceuta said. “The passion of Blistex Relief Cream fans was evident on social media where, in the absence of this hugely popular product, a replacement product simply wouldn’t do.”
Mentholatum expanded its Deep Relief topical pain-relief range in 2022 with a drug-free option and supported the launch with campaign focused on responsible self-care.
The Deep Relief Actiflex Patch product contains the company’s Bionovex Oil which is derived from New Zealand green lipped mussels, a source of omega-3 fatty acid and hyaluronic acid produced naturally in the body and a “key component of skin, connective tissue and the synovial fluid around joints, where it helps to moisturize, cushion, lubricate and restore elasticity.”
“Providing fast, cooling action for up to 12 hours, these patches can be conveniently worn under clothing or while sleeping,” the company said.
Supporting the UK launch of the Deep Relief patch, Mentholatum's campaign sought to debunk myths about the causes of pain and help consumers self-care effectively.
Deep Relief Actiflex Patch was highly commended in the Most Innovative New Product category at the OTC Marketing Awards 2022. One judge commented, “The novel combination of active ingredients and cooling therapy technology in Deep Relief Actiflex has provided an innovative and natural way to manage musculoskeletal aches and pains. The launch has clearly been welcomed by consumers and is evident in the sales uplift.”
Théa Pharmaceuticals bolstered its UK range of dry eye treatments in spring 2022 with the launch of Zaspray.
Designed to “hydrate, lubricate, and soothe the eyes,” Zaspray is a “practical and innovative 3-in-1 preservative-free spray that helps relieve itchy and dry eyes,” Théa said.
The product comprises 0.2% hyaluronic acid “to keep the ocular eye surface lubricated, hydrated and protected to improve tear film stability,” Théa’s “Per-Lip” complex, which includes liposomes, “providing migration across the eyelid margins to combine with the tear film, easing any eye irritation and discomfort,” and perilla seed, a natural plant extract which is also an antioxidant.
Zaspray’s “Aptar” bottle technology also avoids the need for preservatives and helps prevent any bacterial contamination, the firm said.
“Dry eye disease can have a huge impact on consumers and symptoms are often heightened during hay fever season” commented Théa’s head of UK marketing, Matthew Olsen. “There’s nothing worse than having itchy, irritated eyes that get in the way of everyday life.”
Novo Nordisk’s launch of the first Hormone Replacement Therapy drug available without a prescription in the UK unsurprisingly caught the eye of HBW Insight readers in 2022.
The Danish pharma company secured the successful switch from prescription-only to pharmacy medicine of Gina 10 microgram vaginal tablets (estradiol hemihydrate) before rolling out the product in Boots pharmacies. Distribution was later widened to other UK pharmacy chains including LloydsPharmacy and Superdrug.
Women can access Gina – which comprises 24 tablets for up to three months treatment and costs £29.99 ($34.99) – following a consultation with a pharmacist. If buying online, consumers are asked a number of questions to check their suitability for the drug, with their answers reviewed by a pharmacist.
Gina is indicated for the treatment of vaginal atrophy due to oestrogen deficiency in postmenopausal women aged 50 years and above who have not had a period for at least one year.
Novo Nordisk supported the roll out of Gina with the launch of a dedicated consumer website which offers information about menopause symptoms and related frequently asked questions.
Bayer hoped to turbocharge its Bercocca effervescent supplement brand in 2022 with the launch of its Immuno line extension.
“Bayer’s launch of Berocca Immuno is hugely important to achieve our vision of ‘Health for All,’” commented Berocca brand manager Melanie Green. “We have an ambition to grow Berocca as a mega brand, stretching beyond our position as the leading energy VMS brand.”
Combining 10 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins D, C, A, B6, B9 and B12, as well as zinc, copper, iron and selenium, Berocca Immuno is Bayer’s “most advanced formula for immune support,” Green claimed.
Berocca Immuno also contains vitamin E, which Bayer pointed out is an antioxidant which helps protect cells from oxidative stress.
The introduction of Immuno helped Bayer secure a highly commended accolade for Berocca in the OTC Brand Revitalisation of the Year category at the OTC Marketing Awards 2022. “By introducing Immuno as a daily support for health, Bayer helped to shift the perception that Berocca is purely a cure for hangovers. This also enabled Bayer to enter the ever increasing wellness marketplace, revitalizing and helping to reposition Berocca as a brand,” said one judge.
HRA Pharma’s decision to introduce to the UK its popular US scar-care brand Mederma was the second most-read marketing news story of 2022.
Available from Amazon UK and the Superdrug drugstore chain, the launched products are Mederma Advanced Scar Gel, a specialist scar gel containing a proprietary blend of onion derivative Cepalin and Rovisome, Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream containing Tripeptol with peptides, collagen and antioxidants, and Mederma For Kids, containing a grape-scented gel with 1% allantoin.
Each product in the Mederma range features a “unique formula” that ”hydrates and conditions the skin, improves skin texture and visibly reduces the redness of scars from 14 days,” HRA explained.
“Mederma has over 20 years of expertise in scar science in the US and we’re delighted to bring its core range to the UK,” commented HRA marketing manager Clare Newins. “If the loyal following we’ve developed elsewhere in the world is anything to go by, we’re sure our products will be very popular with those living in the UK.”
Nearly five years on from its UK launch Viagra Connect continues to command attention. News of Viatris’ multi-million-pound campaign for the erectile dysfunction brand was HBW Insight’s most read marketing article in 2022.
With the tagline “Free Your Feel-Good,” the campaign sought to empower and encourage UK erectile dysfunction sufferers. Viatris centered the promotion on a film showing a range of couples from all walks of life, highlighting that erection problems can happen to any adult men.
“Our latest campaign tells sufferers that erection problems are far more common than they realize, that a trusted treatment is available and accessible at pharmacies with Viagra Connect,” commented Rob Elliott UK pharmacy marketing lead for the brand.
“The Free Your Feel-Good story aspires to normalize erection problems through its use of diverse couples, so that sufferers feel less alone and more empowered, while highlighting the importance of self-care and feeling good about themselves.”
The film ran for three months on UK TV over the summer and was backed by in-store, digital and press marketing and pharmacy support.