Standing Out In the Aisle

Point-of-purchase tactics help branded OTCs differentiate at the retail level.
As OTC brands risk being lost on shelves crowded with competing brands and generic alternatives, in-store promotion affords the opportunity to influence shoppers making their purchase decisions in the store or impulse buying.
In store-merchandising may be marketers’ strongest tool for driving sales of more established brands, according to a study of OTC products released this year by Knowledge Networks (
In evaluating the impact of tactics including media and coupons on OTC sales in the second year after launch, the study found that OTCs showing improved year-two sales benefited from stronger in-store merchandising programs.
Walmart is offering shoppers a multi-dimensional smoking cessation program in a first-of-a-kind partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and wellness program provider Healthways (
The GSK “Blue Print to Quit” campaign—launched chain-wide Oct. 29—combines GSK’s nicotine replacement products (NRT) such as Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ with Healthways’s QuitNet online support plan. The program provides the chain’s customers with a recognized “best practice” approach for quitting, says Janna Lacatell, solution design manager, Healthways.
Featured in stores’ NRT aisles, the program will expand to endcap displays in time for the January “quit season.”
Though tobacco habits are hard to break, professional guidance and medications provided to tobacco users are often quite effective.
“Best practice guidelines by the Centers For Disease Control and Health and Human Services specifically call out that the use of one or the other—NRT products or behavioral support—doubles individuals’ chances for success. The agencies say that that success is significantly further improved when the two are used in combination,” Lacatell says.
Offered since 1995, the QuitNet online support program includes self assessment tools, with access to certified tobacco treatment specialists and a peer-support community. GSK has partnered with QuitNet to provide comprehensive tobacco cessation programs with NRT to employers since 2005; as one of those employer clients, Walmart Human Resources has made QuitNet available to their associates since 2011.
With “Blue Print to Quit,” QuitNet is now being offered in the OTC consumer market for the first time. Walmart came to Healthways and GSK looking for a “game-changing” solution for its shoppers, Lacatell says.
“Walmart recognized that nicotine replacement therapy products alone do not go far enough. They challenged us to bring together a tobacco cessation behavioral support solution with the emphasis that it had to be game-changing, she continues.
“We know that behavioral support combined with pharmacotherapy is the best practice recommendation to help someone quit successfully and permanently. When we first started to think about Walmart’s request, it seemed like a daunting task. How do you bring that to market in a way that is understandable and appealing to shoppers?”
Healthways and GSK focused on shelf education in developing a program that Walmart would buy into.
“We started at the shelf where someone is in the frame of mind of quitting, and asked ourselves, what type of message do we want to deliver in the three seconds the shopper is considering a purchase,” Lacatell says.
A new NRT category header card advertising the Blue Print to Quit Program with the tag “You’ve Never Quit Like This Before” was created. A graphic explains that the medication component “plus” the QuitNet support program provides the best chance of success.
“The previous category card was entirely product focused, advertising only the choices of patch, gum, or lozenge. We transitioned from a product-oriented category to a quit-oriented approach, which was pretty remarkable for a retailer,” Lacatell says.
The card advertises a $10 GSK rebate on the $10 cost of a 90-day QuitNet program with purchase of an NRT product. QuitNet membership cards are J-hooked to the header display at eye level.
Away from the NRT aisle, GSK and Healthways asked Walmart to buy into the inclusion of an endcap display in stores’ high traffic health and wellness sections near the pharmacies.
Endcaps featuring the NRT products with the QuitNet cards will be rolled out in January. “The end caps provide visibility to a completely different audience—people who may not even be aware that Walmart carries these products,” she says.
“People need to understand that resources are available, and that is frequently not the case when they decide to quit. The choice is typically on a whim and they are not really prepared to follow through.
“With this program, we can intercept them and let them know there are best practice ways to quit that are likely to be successful because medication combined with behavioral support works,” Lacatell says.
By using eye-catching off-shelf displays, product managers can highlight the brand and capture shoppers’ planned and impulse sales.
For customers including Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Repack Canada ( with sister company The Freelance Portfolio designs and co-packages secondary packaging displays and trays that reinforce a brand’s marketing while supporting retailer logistics.
Owned and staffed entirely by women—down to the four fork lift drivers—Toronto-based Repack Canada boasts 30 years of marketing, advertising, and design experience, says Carol Levy, president Repack Canada.
“We say we have whatever it takes to meet our customers’ needs. With a customer like Pfizer, we try to be everything to them starting with package and POS design through to co-packaging and shipping to the retailer,” Levy says.
“It is always in the best interest of established OTC brands to get away from their generic counterparts because there is no noticeable difference to the consumer other than the name, the package, and the price. The Freelance Portfolio designs some pretty awesome floor, shelf, and pallet displays for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare to lessen the competition,” she adds.
Once The Freelance Portfolio designs a floor stand or flip tray, the customer’s product is repackaged at Repack’s repackaging facility. At the store, it is ready to be put out for shoppers.
For this Fall’s launch of Centrum Gender in the Canadian market, The Freelance Portfolio and Repack Canada developed pre-packaged floor displays and flip tray shelf boxes for end caps.
 Graphics carry over the branding message from the media advertising. Foil hot stamping Pfizer uses on the primary package to highlight male and female symbols was reprised in the secondary packaging.
“We mimicked their packaging exactly on our trays with foil hot stamp. For printing our press sheets for the displays, we sent them to the same company that did the initial package samples for Pfizer. The foil picks up the lighting nicely in the stores,” Levy says.
Pfizer features premium gifts boxed with Centrum and Advil, for which The Freelance Portfolio designs
carrier boxes tailored for stable fit and stacking in displays and on
store shelves when displays are sold down.
Repack Canada then packs the giveaway items into the carrier boxes and shrink wraps them to the product. Centrum gift-with-purchase items have included pill boxes, reading lights, and little radios. Consumers of Children’s Advil and Advil Cough and Cold have received free night lights, thermometers, and hand sanitizing spray.
“The carriers are designed to perfectly complement the packaging and enable proper stacking in the display and on the shelf. For Advil, we designed a box the same depth and width of the Advil box, with an open window to alert the customer to the bonus value,” says Eira Braun-Labossiere, marketing manager.
“Free is a very powerful word,” Levy adds.
“Consumers want to get something extra that they don’t have to pay for. A little thank you gift becomes a definite plus for a higher priced brand,” she says.
Nosco ( has introduced the Lit-a-Sure a process for attaching literature to the inside of a folding carton so that the customer does not have to insert the literature on their production lines. Lit-a-Sure offers a lean manufacturing solution that reduces SKUs and enables increased production speeds, while ensuring consistent insert placement for patient visibility.
“Before a customer commits to Lit-a-Sure, they can easily estimate their savings using our specially created Annual Savings Calculator that takes all aspects of their packaging lines and processes into account, says Bob Gaumont, package engineering manager, Nosco.
Nosco developed a solution using Lit-a-Sure for a customer with an OTC product with several different components. The customer was adding components including instructions-for-use to the carton by hand, then weighing the completed cartons to determine if the printed literature was missing.
“Variations in the weight of all of the other components was preventing the detection of missing inserts. The use of Lit-a-Sure ensured that each carton was delivered with an insert and helped them make the transition from a hand-filled package to a more automated packaging process,” Gaumont says.
Nosco designed multiple partition cartons with auto bottoms that are assembled on in-house folding and gluing equipment. The internal partitions protect and organize the supplied components.
 Strong primary color graphics and a high-gloss varnish are used for shelf impact with 4-color process printing of the literature for the customer’s usage instructions.
Inserts are printed, cut, folded, and glued at Nosco. “Creating the proper style of folded literature in order to attach the literature to the inside of the carton and determining the proper positioning within the carton were necessary. Literature attached to the inside of a folding carton can often become an obstruction to the insertion of the product. We use unique methods to ensure that the attached literature does not interfere with the customer’s product insertion,” Gaumont says.
Several of the carton designs also have instant redeemable coupons attached by Nosco to the outside front panel of the cartons. Coupons are designed with a water-clear base label so that once they are removed by the consumer, the strong complimentary graphics on the carton are unobscured.
Nosco then attaches the literature to the inside of the carton using the Lit-a-Sure process with process controls that ensure the integrity and placement of each piece of literature on each carton.
Inner partitions and the cartons are then folded and glued. The cartons with literature and coupons already attached are shipped to the customer glued and ready to be erected and filled.
“With the instructions for use already attached to the inside of each carton, we remove the steps for the customer of inventory control, sampling, inspection, storage, reconciliation, and handling of a separate insert,” Gaumont adds.
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