Launch strategies in action

What are you going to do with your hands?

What are you going to do with your hands?

‘Pull’ strategy positions NicoLick as a serious alternative to nicotine gum

The Brief

Product: NicoLick, a lollipop stop smoking aid.

Description: Over-the-counter lollipop infused with slow-release nicotine designed to help stop cravings in smokers trying to quit.

Target: Men and women smokers, ages 25 to 35, household income over $30,000.

Timeline: Product will hit pharmacy shelves across Canada in two months.

Assignment

* To get the word out to smokers across the country that there’s a new stop-smoking aid that’s as effective as nicotine gum.

* To avoid any possible backlash by ensuring that NicoLick is positioned as a serious adult product that will not be available to children.

* The goal of the launch program is to get samples into the hands of smokers who are trying to quit, get approval from the medical establishment and get as much positive press as possible.

* For this assignment, assume that NicoLick has been approved by Health Canada and that NicoLick is an over-the-counter medication with a Drug Identification Number (DIN).

The campaign

Strategy

* Raise awareness of NicoLick through media relations outreach with consumer and trade publications.

* Establish NicoLick as a viable smoking cessation product with the medical community through informational outreach.

* Promote the availability of the product among smokers through product sampling sessions at target venues.

Execution

Rationale: With a focus on PR and promotions, the execution is based on a consumer ‘pull’ strategy. The consumer outreach will be the primary focus of the program with the medical community outreach secondary. The goal is to raise awareness among the general public who, in turn, will request the product from their healthcare provider. The campaign would have a serious tone and position NicoLick as a genuine smoking alternative.

Media relations outreach

* ‘What are you going to do with your hands?’: Conduct a survey among smokers and former smokers asking about the trials around trying to quit smoking. The survey is to be tailored to focus on the habitual behaviour associated with smoking to illustrate how nicotine gum and patches are inadequate substitutes.

* Media Challenge: Issue a challenge invitation to media to quit smoking using NicoLick. Each journalist participating would receive a launch kit that includes incentives to clean their house and clothes to ‘get the smoke out’ – i.e., dry cleaning coupons.

* Celebrity Spokesperson: Enlist a well-known spokesperson such as Christy Turlington (former heavy smoker) to discuss the challenges of quitting and how the NicoLick helps.

* Product Evangelist: Conduct a media tour across Canada with a former smoker who has curbed his addiction using NicoLick.

Sampling

* Visibility program: Conduct product sampling and information distribution in high-traffic smoking areas: i.e. bars, bingo halls, airport smoking lounges, and outside restaurants, office buildings and sporting events. Either sample product or coupon smokers in these areas. Product samples must have a minimal fee ($0.01) in order to comply with Health Canada regulations for OTC products.

* Stop Smoking at Work: Develop an organization to provide resources to smokers looking to quit. Offer employers the option of bringing the group into the workplace to help employees stop smoking.

* Weedless Wednesday (January): Look to sponsor activities on Weedless Wednesday and provide product samples or couponing in major traffic areas such as Toronto’s Union Station.

Medical establishment outreach

* Smoking Cessation Seminar Series: Host a conference or seminar for doctors, physicians and pharmacists to discuss how to help patients quit smoking and the benefits of NicoLick.

* Distribute a direct mail piece to doctors, physicians and pharmacists outlining the benefits of NicoLick supported by research around the limited success of existing smoking cessation products.

Issues Management

* Client needs to be prepared for worst-case scenario: e.g., a small child mistaking NicoLick for candy. Complete crisis communications plan with supporting messages to be prepared.

* Client also needs to consider other possible issues, including: the NicoLick becoming perceived as a ‘cool’ accessory for youth or non-compliance with legal restrictions by pharmacies.

Andrew Walker is VP of Toronto-based Weber Shandwick Worldwide Canada, part of the world’s largest public relations agency network. He can be reached at: (416) 964-6444.