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Otrivin: Unblocking cliches

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media | January 27, 2010
The OTC pharmaceutical product has used mass media heavily - with emphasis on television - to build familiarity and create a direct co-relation with common cold

FMCG and telecom brands are the biggest marketers, battling it out for the consumer's eyeball and the largest share in the advertising chain. Maximum visibility across media, including television, print, outdoor and even on-ground, is of utmost importance for these brands. Major advertisers have also promoted popular shows on television, including recent movie releases aired on national television.

However, it's a little out of the ordinary for pharmaceutical products to associate with movie releases on television. Otrivin, the nasal decongestant spray from pharma house Novartis, was the chief sponsor for the TV premier of the Salman Khan starrer, Wanted.

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Mediedge:cia handles the media duties for the OTC brand and Manjiri Kamat, general manager, Mumbai and Bengaluru operations, shares some thoughts on the plan for Otrivin. The company believes that impact buy's plan works better for the brand and results in a marked increase in sales. The company realised this from the success of its first phase of campaign, which was launched in June, 2009.

Otrivin has been present in the Indian market for about three decades now but was available in a dropper format. Twenty five years ago, it became an OTC (over the counter) product available without a doctor's prescription. In April 2009, the usage format of the product was changed to be made available in a spray format. The other decongestants in the category are Nasibion (Merck) and Nasoclear, both of which are prescription products.

Otrivin is the first product in the decongestant category to be available in a spray format.

The campaign for the new Otrivin (spray format) began in June last year because that is when the monsoon sets in. This part of the campaign included a TVC. After laying low for a few months, Otrivin came back in the winter season (November), when the common cold is also fairly widespread in the country.

Hence in the second burst of on-air presence, the same approach was taken and the commercial (which was more of an infomercial) was aired mainly on two properties - cricket and movies.

Kamat explains, "Cricket cuts across demographic barriers of age and reaches a majority of male audiences, while films have a much larger scope in terms of target audiences." Also, these properties happened during the peak cough and cold season during winter.

In the first phase, since there was a direct co-relation of the brand to the ailment (ads were aired in the June-July period), the method was used this time around.

Otrivin was the associate sponsor with Neo Sports for the recently concluded India-Sri Lanka series and the ongoing India-Bangladesh series. The movie Wanted, too, was part of the impact buy route.

The strategy for the OTC brand, says Vineet Singhal, business head, OTC, Novartis India, is to gain the highest visibility. "It's all part of a linked strategy, where we want congested and blocked noses to be treated with Otrivin nasal spray and not an array of multi-symptomatic tablets," says Singhal, explaining why the communication has been on air only during certain months of the year.

The company wants to create a direct co-relation between nasal congestion and Otrivin.

As for future plans, Nissim Ghoghe, head, marketing, OTC business, Novartis India, says, though, the current route has been television, print as a medium was tried out in the Kolkata market. The response received was up to the mark and Otrivin may choose other media soon.