Reactine: Not Just Allergies

Packaged Goods--Food/Other (SILVER)

Client Credits: Johnson & Johnson Inc
Anna Caravaggio - Marketing Director
Jesse Weis - Group Brand Director
Maria Gregory - Group Brand Director
Nate Notwell – Senior Brand Manager
Sabrina Zollo – Senior Brand Manager
Alan Ross – Senior Brand Manager
Cydney Taylor – Associate Brand Manager
Amanda Minacs - Consumer & Shopper Insights Manager

Agency Credits: JWT
Monique Zarry – VP Group Account Director
Danielle Rice – Group Account Director
Yasmine Saade – Account Supervisor
Martin Shewchuk – Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director
Jed Churcher – Group Creative Head, Writer
Doug Maugham – Group Creative Head, Art Director
Jack Perone – VP Director of Planning

Crossover Notes:
Crossover Notes: All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2012 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at

Crossover Note 2. Brand Truths.
Crossover Note 8. Classic Rivalries.
Crossover Note 16. When a campaign stumbles.
Crossover Note 20. Emotional versus Rational.
Crossover Note 25. Brand Linkage (when should the brand name appear).

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):March 2010 - May 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: March 15 2010
Base Period as a Benchmark: preceding 12 months

a) Overall Assessment
Allergies. They're no big deal, right? Well not for REACTINE®. For years, Claritin and REACTINE® had battled each other for the number one share position in over-the-counter allergy medication. [Crossover Note 8] In 2005, REACTINE® took over leadership in part due to its Blue Van campaign. However, this new leadership had been realized largely by the decline of Claritin share (to Aerius) and not through its own organic growth. Further compounding worries was the explosive growth of private label. It had doubled in volume from around 10% in 2003 to over 23% in 2009.

See Figure 1: Total Allergy Retail $ Share.

Private Labels’ growth was impacting all brands in the category (with the exception of the new entrant Aerius). In fact, despite REACTINE®’s leadership share in the category, it had been slowly losing share each year.

See Figure 2: REACTINE® Adult $ Share Point Change.

Compounding this, copy test pre-scores for the Blue Van campaign were beginning to show signs of wearout and weakness. Despite many attempts, the brand teams were unsuccessful at getting intrusion above 100 and relevance scores were stagnating at the low 70s. This, combined with worrisome in-market dynamics, suggested that REACTINE®’s long-standing campaign had run its course. [Crossover Note 16]

A new idea was needed, and consumer research revealed a worrisome market dynamic. Allergy sufferers are highly involved with their condition: what it feels like to experience allergies, and relief. (Their focus is on their experiences, not on the allergens that trigger these.) At the same time, there was very low engagement, with no appreciation of the category or brands. We were delivering much needed relief, but consumers were not connecting with us on an emotional level. [Crossover Note 20]

There would be a huge win for REACTINE® if it could develop engagement. A category communication audit revealed a compelling truth that helped us understand the issue. [Crossover Note 2] Category advertising relied on humour to drive intrusion. In this ad world, suffering from allergies was seen as fun, even funny. And the relief was all so perfect and wonderful it was no wonder allergy sufferers didn’t take the category seriously. Seen in this light, REACTINE® had also never taken allergies seriously, and it had alienated the very people we were trying to help.

REACTINE® needed to demonstrate that we understood the suffering that they endured. We needed to show that we cared for their condition as much as they did. Our new Brand Idea would do this. REACTINE® would demonstrate what it was like to suffer from allergies, and that they should never be dismissed as “just allergies.”

b) Resulting Business Objectives
REACTINE®'s share was slowly declining from 2003 through to the launch of the new campaign in 2010. From a high dollar share volume of 27%, it was 22.4% in 2009. REACTINE®'s business plan for 2010 called for a 0.2% increase to 22.6%.

Additionally, we were looking to strengthen the pre-testing metrics for intrusion and relevance.

See Figure 3: Adlab Results.

c) Annual Media Budget
$3 - $4 million

d) Geographic Area

a) Analysis and Insight
We knew that we had a product with superior efficacy, and equity research had confirmed that consumers knew this and were highly satisfied with REACTINE®. But it also revealed a weak relationship with consumers, with no distinct attributes or benefits. REACTINE® stood for “about the same as every other brand in the Category” -- offering generic benefits which left a big hole for private label to walk into. This traced to the "humour" approach described above.

But what started out as a disappointing discovery, turned into a rallying cry -- a mandate to demonstrate that we understood, cared and would stand up for allergy sufferers and their right for relief. Think about it. When was the last time anyone called in sick because of allergies or was brought chicken soup or pampered because their allergies made them feel like crap? NEVER! Research revealed a truth that would form the basis of our creative platform. Allergies are often disregarded in our society, making it acceptable to tell allergy sufferers to "get on with it" and not complain. In turn, society and allergy sufferers dismissed their symptoms as “Just Allergies,” even though they were suffering physically and emotionally.

b) Communication Strategy
REACTINE® would proclaim to allergy sufferers:

1) that it understood their suffering and was on their side

2) that it was committed to serious relief and that allergies should never be dismissed as “just allergies.”

a) Media Used
- TV :30 equity spot
- TV :30 spot for the Sinus sku
- Online banners

b) Creative Discussion
Through literal, figurative and insightful dramatization, the two commercials showed that REACTINE® genuinely understands what allergy sufferers experience, and takes this seriously. Please review "Not Just Allergies" and "What's the Deal" videos attached. [Crossover Note 25]

c) Media Discussion
The new "It’s not Just Allergies" campaign launched in March of 2009 with the equity spots in English and French Canada totaling 2500 GRPs. Following this launch the sub-brand ad “What’s the Deal” for Sinus aired beginning in July 2009 with 1400 GRPs. There was an additional 900 GRPs in October/December 2010 for equity support. There were no other media used except some online banners to support the campaign launch.

a) Sales/Share Results
In 2010, REACTINE®’s in-season dollar volume consumption was up + 14% versus 2009. (See Figure 4: REACTINE Adult Retail $ Sales.)

And dramatically and almost immediately, REACTINE® was able to reverse it share point change. (See Figure 5: REACTINE® Adult $ Share Point Change.)

And these increases in consumption were not being felt by the category. In fact, in 2010, within 3 months of the launch of the new campaign, REACTINE® realized a recent record adult share high of 26.7%. And growth behind this new campaign continues to encourage us with 2011 adult share as high as 28%. (See Figure 6: REACTINE Adult Retail $ Share.)

Additionally – we reversed some of the trends in pre-testing scores. We were not only intrusive but we were also highly relevant. (See Figure 7: Adlab Results.)

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion
The initial results were so encouraging to the brand team that they successfully campaigned for incremental investment to sustain for a few additional weeks into the fall. (See Figure 8: REACTINE Adult $ Share versus GRPs.)

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels: REACTINE®’s media spend was in line with the historical spend on the brand and was in line with category spending. (See Figure 9: REACTINE® Media Expenditure.)

Pricing: REACTINE®’s average unit price did not change from the 3 years preceding the launch of the new campaign. (See Figure 11: REACTINE® Adult Average Retail Unit Price.)

Distribution Changes: REACTINE®’s distribution has not changed in the year preceding the launch of the new campaign. (See Figure 10: REACTINE® Adult Average All Commodity Distribution.)

Unusual Promotional Activity: N/A

Other Potential Causes: N/A