NexGard.

Dogs. Man's best friend. And woman's BFF as well, but sure, let's pay homage to the cliché, right? Anyway, dogs. Bursting with love for their families. And, umm, sometimes bursting with other things as well, including fleas and ticks and other parasites. That's where our client's product, NexGard, saves the day. It's a yummy beef-flavoured chew that protects dogs from those nasties. Dogs just need to chew it once a month and stay protected. Enter the competitor, with a product that offers protection for up to three months. A heavy marketing campaign hammered home the convenience advantage.

Challenge

As you'd expect, the apparent benefits of convenience and lower cost appealed to time-poor, thrifty consumers. NexGard began to lose market share and the competitor took over the Number 1 slot in the category.

Could anything be done to combat this seemingly-compelling proposition?

(Spoiler Alert: yes, it could!)

 

What we did

As we do when facing any marketing challenge, we did our homework, examining possibilities and drilling into the data.

The answer, as it turned out, lay deep in the DNA of the client, Boehringer Ingelheim, in a blend of love and science.

The company’s vision is for “a passionate belief in a future in which no animal suffers from a preventable disease”. Unsurprisingly, that vision is shared by animal owners.

BI research revealed that pet owners believe that the most important thing for their dear four-legged friends is “a loving, stress-free environment”.

That’s the “love” element.

The science could be seen in what became known as the “rollercoaster effect”.

Independent research demonstrated that doses administered three-monthly inevitably resulted in much higher concentrations of medication in animals’ systems, for longer. In comparison, lower doses administered on a monthly basis represented a much gentler approach.

A very high initial dose to ensure efficacy three months out seemed like it might present an unnecessary risk. That, unfortunately for the animals involved, was the unintended consequence of convenience.

That situation, once it became clear to Boehringer Ingelheim, was totally at odds with their desire to avoid animal suffering. It wouldn’t sit well with animal healthcare professionals either. And certainly many of the animals’ loving companions wouldn’t be happy if they appreciated what was happening.

The task was suddenly crystal clear: highlight the problems of concentrated dosages and present a gentler solution that is easier on loved ones and that mobilises the “do no harm” instincts of animal healthcare professionals.

By working with BI’s product development technical team, BI simplified the science behind their competitor’s convenience message. BI gave the three-monthly dosing a name; ‘the rollercoaster effect’, due to its high initial level of medication. BI then made sure that their tech team could substantiate this new phrase, and then tested the proposition with the BI sales team. They immediately understood this terminology and felt confident that they could use this to explain BI’s products’ advantages to vets.

The new Gentle approach saw the BI salesforce fired up and ready to bring a rich emotional message to clinics around the country. They met a groundswell of enthusiasm from animal healthcare professionals.

With the tech and sales team behind them, BI launched a marketing campaign focused on ‘Gentle Monthly Dosing’ - stress free application methods, and gentle dosing that didn’t overload furry family members with high volumes of medications in the name of ‘convenience’.

A limited field force meant that BI relied on clinic staff to execute the campaign in clinics.

Ho-hum advertising materials about pet parasites are notoriously difficult ways to excite this audience.

By tapping into the emotional side of things, producing beautiful POS with embellishments – which was unheard of in the category - and providing the opportunity to get off the roller coaster and relax, with a chance to have a mobile therapist come to the clinic to treat all staff, ensured that the campaign was well executed nationwide.

The results were dramatic: NexGard regained the Number 1 position in the marketplace (despite out-of-stock issues along the way).

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Are You Missing a Key Ingredient?

The NexGard campaign provides a clear demonstration of the power of knowledge - and the secrets and passions that can and should be found in corporate visions.

When you’re hoping to whip up a marketing treat but something just doesn’t taste right, give us a call.

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