Let's Talk Mucous (Buckley's)

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Novartis Consumer Health Canada Inc.
Eric Bentz - Director of Marketing
Ginny Homewood - Senior Brand Manager
Kelly Kretz - Senior Brand Manager
Mark Chiarcossi - Associate Brand Manager
Sonia Munoz - Senior Project Manager
Don Beatty - Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs
Patrick Jauvin - Customer Strategy Manager

Agency Credits: Saatchi & Saatchi
John McCarter - Executive Vice-President, Managing Director
Kathy McLay - Group Account Director
Brian Sheppard - Co-Executive Creative Director
Helen Pak - Co-Executive Creative Director
Tyler Serr - Art Director
Mike Tung - Writer
Marc Melanson - Art Director/Writer
Rob Tunnicliff - Producer
Alan Bibby - Director, Stardust Production Co,
Mike Dougherty - VP Managing Partner, Connection 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 www.cassies.ca

Crossover Note 1. What a Brand Stands For.
Crossover Note 6. Should the product be improved?
Crossover Note 14. Refreshing a continuing campaign.
Crossover Note 17. Turning a liability into a strength.
Crossover Note 22. Humour in a Serious Category.

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


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):September 2010 - March 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: September 12, 2010
Base Period as a Benchmark: September 2009 - March 2010

a) Overall Assessment
Buckley’s has a long and colourful history of being able to present something unpalatable in an endearingly successful way. This is the story of how we were able to use the power of the Buckley’s equity to successfully introduce a new liquids variant, Buckley’s Mucous and Phlegm, regain lost users, and grow the liquids business. We did it by going back to what made us successful in the first place, and talking about the sensitive subject of mucous in a way that only Buckley’s could do. [Crossover Note 1]

Buckley’s is one of the few cough/cold remedies in Canada that has a singular position in the marketplace. “It tastes awful. And it works.” (R) has been a consistent platform for the brand since 1987. [Crossover Note 17] This simple idea was rooted in the sweet spot between the product truth and a human truth, no sugar coating. The formula is still made the traditional way, with oil of pine needle, menthol, camphor, Canadian balsam and ammonium carbonate, with no sugar to mask the strong taste. And Canadians believed that strong and effective medicine is not supposed to taste good. If it tastes awful, it must work. So our communications were not sugar coated either. The brand that was once dismissed as a marginal player by the larger pharmaceutical brands was now a major player in the category.

During the cough/cold season of 09/10, there were 5 major players, having between them over 100 variants in the adult segment alone. And many more minor players added to the clutter, Vicks, Halls, Cold FX, Otrivin to name a few. Buckley’s was holding its own in this highly fragmented category, in fourth place, with both a liquid and a solid (gel capsule) offering. This was also a high cross-usage category, and Buckley's was vulnerable to brands like Tylenol, Advil and NeoCitran (Source: Ipsos Brand Health,2010)

Coming out of the 2009/2010 cough/cold season, total the Buckley’s brand had an 11.3 dollar share, and our media spend at 10% SOV was consistent with that position. (Chart 1, Source: AC Nielsen Market Track)

Buckley's liquid, the mainstay of our business, was in second place in the liquids segment, but disturbingly had begun to lose share to the new Mucous entrants (Benylin and Vicks). It had less than half the media spend of the leader, Benylin. By the end of the season, we knew we had to reverse the trend. (Chart 2, Source: AC Nielsen Market Track)

Our Canadian U&A study in February 2010 revealed that while mucous was rated as a 'middle-of-the-pack' symptom, nearly half of all people with a cough, cold or flu experienced it. And while it wasn’t cited as a key need, once the category began to talk about it, it quickly became top of mind. Mucous relief products, launched in Fall 2009, were pacing to become best sellers, quickly grabbing nearly a 15.0 dollar share of the market.

Worse, Buckley's was losing loyal consumers. They were skeptical that Buckleys could handle mucous effectively as we didn't have a variant that specifically provided mucous relief. [Crossover Note 6]

b) Resulting Business Objectives
> Regain lost dollar share on liquids.
> Regain lost loyal users on liquids.
> Both objectives were for the 6 month Cough/Cold season September 2010 through to March 2011.

c) Annual Media Budget
$1 - $2 million

d) Geographic Area
National, English and French

a) Analysis and Insight
Buckley’s success was based on a brand promise that was simple, straightforward and unique in the category. “It tastes awful. And it works.” (R) tapped into values that were a little more traditional. The product originated in a time of tough love, and home remedies that were expected to be a little unpleasant. A time when mustard plasters and bowls of steam with eucalyptus were favoured, and the brand held true to those values over the years.

Many Canadians still held true to these values as well, but many more were starting to look for easier options! We needed to convince them that Buckley’s was the most effective mucous relief formula, and worth enduring the unpleasant taste.

The key to success lay in a clear understanding of what we had in the Buckley’s brand; not just with understanding the elasticity of our brand equity, but with understanding our consumer’s relationship to it. We got up close and personal with Buckley’s loyalists and fence sitters, and experienced first hand how these folks managed their lives, what was important to them, and how they dealt with a cold. (Source: Qualitative Research Study, April 2010, Heads Up.)

Our loyal liquid users skewed more male than the category, and are born organizers. They plan ahead, do their homework and are armed for whatever lies ahead. Deliberate, organized and diligent, they are a tough lot, and they demand a lot of themselves. Taking a sick day wasn’t “a time out,” it was an admission of failure. A day under the covers, snuggling with the dog, looking for sympathy was their idea of sloth. If these folks got a cold, (and they went to great lengths to avoid it altogether) they fought it every inch of the way. They needed to stay in the game. They were indispensable, and the world could not get by without them.

They dealt with coughs and colds in the same efficient way, and their views on mucous were true to form. They believed that mucous was evil, and needed to be expelled. It wasn’t enough for them that mucous medicines could specialize in mucous, break up mucous, or destroy mucous: it must be dealt with directly and completely, it must come up and out. But of course, mucous is also gross, so we needed to address the subject in a palatable way, with a lighter touch. This was perfectly consistent with Buckley’s values and personality.

b) Communication Strategy
We launched Buckley’s Mucous and Phlegm, targeting Buckley’s users who had switched to other mucous brands. We used an "up and out" demo consistent in tone and manner with successful ads of the past. [Crossover Note 14] Vicks and Benylin used real life annoying cough situations and failed to demonstrated the requisite "up and out" as clearly.

We had supporting VO announcer radio during morning and evening drive time, where drivers would be sitting in congested traffic, and we had in-store support material flashing an impossibly bright and colourful mucous blob, consistent with our light hearted theme.

We launched just prior to the cough/cold season, and supported the new variant for 6 months.

a) Media Used

> National television, English and French.
> Voice over radio during drive time, December.
> In-store support material.

b) Creative Discussion
From research we concluded that in an effort to keep the campaign fresh our work from recent years had leaned too much on broad humour and hyperbole, and not kept the balance between honesty and humour. In fact, very few of our recent ads were recalled. But older ads were all well remembered. [Crossover Note 22]

We re-focused on what made us successful: keep the message as simple as possible, no borrowed interest, no hyperbole, no set up, and just a light touch of humour.

We decided to create 2 simple 15 second spots, using different animated "up and out" devices, “Cannon” and “Catapult” (Chart 3)

We used a simple white background, relatable people, and an animated X-ray demo that was purposefully low tech, and nostalgic in tone and manner.

Radio was voice-over messages, played during drive time. (Chart 3)

In-store had shelf talkers and coupons with an unusual bright green mucous green across all elements. (Chart 4)

c) Media Discussion
Television was the primary medium with "Cannon" and "Catapult" running nationally from late September through December 2010, and from January through March 2011. Radio, as noted, ran during drive time in December, the ‘sickest month’ of the year.

Weight levels varied but the flights started at higher levels averaging 170 grps per week, subsequent weeks averaged 70 grps. Media spend for liquids was consistent with prior years, at $1.6MM, still well behind the competition. (Chart 2)

While we stuck to the tried and true in terms of the media buy, we did have an insight that gave us a competitive advantage. We knew how much our consumers loved to plan ahead and be organized for what lay ahead. So we planned to start the week of Sept 25th which was a good month or so earlier than the competition. In that way, our users were stocked up for the season ahead, blocking competitive inroads.

a) Sales/Share Results
Despite being the third brand to enter the mucous segment, we achieved our objectives for liquids, and then some.

From the week we launched in Sept 2010, we gained over 8 dollar share points (Chart 5), outperforming all other brands in the category for the season. (Chart 6). We narrowed the gap between Buckley's and leader Benylin from over 10 points to 2. (CHART 8)

We regained our loyal users and more, moving from a low of 6% the previous season to a category high of 19% for the current season. We ended the season with the highest loyalty in the category. (Chart 7)

And finally, our plans helped drive the Buckley’s brand to the #1 brand in Adult Cough/Cold for the first time in the brand's 100 year history. (Chart 9)

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion
The tracking results clearly show a direct, if not immediate, response to the advertising schedule. (Chart 5)

Further, sales results were maintained throughout the cough cold season, falling only slightly after advertising went off air at the end of March.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels: Our spending levels behind liquids were consistent with our SOV, as per previous years, and well below competition.

Pricing: Pricing remained unchanged vs. same time year ago, and we sold less on Temporary Price Reduction vs. year ago.

Distribution Changes: ACD remained at 97 points, as per previous years.

Unusual Promotional Activity: None.

Other Potential Causes: None.
Putting Buckley's Mucous and Phlegm on shelf without support would not have generated the success we had. It was directly atrributable to the "up and out" creative that not only generated awareness of the new variant, but convinced users of its efficacy. In addition, we achieved a 'halo' effect of this Mucous insight and saw our other Liquid skus grow vs. year ago.