Vitamins and pills


What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet.

Some products use their attributes to enhance the overall perceptions of the base product or to even create a new category. CI helped Miller Brewing Company develop the light beer category with a low calorie product called “Lite.” When “Lite beer from Miller” came out there was no light beer category against which to compare. At that time low calorie was perceived as feminine, not a selling proposition to men, who drank the most beer.

To change or create a category there first was a name and then there was the Miller Lite All-Stars campaign. Since masculinity was an issue for men drinking a lighter tasting beer, our research showed that men needed someone to identify with who could reassure them about their own masculinity. Who better to reassure a young, beer-drinking male than a famous newly retired pro athlete who drank the beer himself and touted its great taste and less filling attributes, never mentioning the dreaded female “calorie” claim. Thus, the light beer category and my firm, Creative Insights, were launched and Lite beer was emulated by every major brewer in the US and around the world. 

Moving from beer to statins, a category I do more work in today, Vytorin with its dual benefits of “controlling” two kinds of cholesterol comes to mind. Regardless of the effectiveness of the drug, the advertising acknowledged the role of heredity and poor diet in cholesterol management. This allowed the patient to see a benefit from taking the drug, even if they were not living a healthy lifestyle. This merger of benefits broadened the audience for the drug and offered Crestor stiff competition. By combining two attributes in innovative, entertaining advertising, Vytorin was able to get everyday people to think about their cholesterol needs, not as an add-on product, but in a whole new way. This approach never dealt with two products in combination, but rather as two different causes of cholesterol and a broader audience who might benefit by taking Vytorin

Now Brand XY will have a similar opportunity. A new “super” statin is coming. It can raise HDL cholesterol for those who have low HDL levels. It can lower LDL cholesterol and improve a person’s cardiovascular risk profile. It even has something for high triglycerides. While triglycerides have not been linked directly to heart disease, it has been shown to lower HDL, which has been shown to reduce cardiovascular problems.

Brand XY could be viewed simply as a dual product. However, with these three important patient benefits, it is likely that the sum of this product will be perceived as greater than the whole. Reducing the name or referent of the product to a dual product when there are other less satisfactory dual products available runs the risk of negatively predetermining people’s expectations of this product before it gets a chance to impact patients’ and doctors’ lives.

Allowing the doctor/patient to define this product as a dual product is worse than damning it with faint praise. It runs the risk of leaving prescriptions unwritten because people misunderstood its true value in areas doctors had not ever thought possible. This is not just a statin that can control high and low cholesterol. It can also move triglycerides. It is a multi-protector not only of dyslipidemia but also of hypertriglyceridemia.

The brand team would like to develop a term that not only differentiates the brand from other combination statins, but also provides some inherent meaning and context for a broader way of thinking about cardiovascular health.  The goal is to understand various naming options, and which would provide the greatest short and long-term opportunities for the brand.