Over-the-counter, the perfect remedy! Counting on over-the-counter meds and winter remedies for healthy sales and profits

As the colder months approach, over the counter medicines and winter remedies become increasingly important lines for wholesalers to supply and retailers to stock up. As the weather sets in, consumers become more reliant on local stores that cater for all their top-up-shop needs without having to go far, especially when they’re not feeling well.

With most adults experiencing two to four colds a year, stocking winter remedies during the cold season offers wholesalers and retailers a huge opportunity as category sales increase. The key is to display these products prominently in the depot and in store. Dan Newell is Confections Marketing Manager at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, marketers of Lockets:

“At Mars Wrigley Confectionery we have a dedicated range of eye-catching POS to help retailers make the most of their over-the-counter medicines and encourage customers to buy on impulse. Having a fully stocked display will help maximise profit potential and guarantee repeat visits from customers.”

Lockets is a trusted brand which has helped keep Brits going through the winter months for many years. Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s medicated confectionery portfolio is worth £8.4m and represents 9.9% of the total category (Nielsen Scantrack.) Lockets contain a soothing liquid centre and clearing menthol, whose double action formula can be relied upon to calm stubborn coughs and colds and ease discomfort. Each pack contains 10 sweets and the range includes three delicious flavours, Honey & Lemon, Extra Strong and Cranberry & Blueberry.

To get the cold season off to a flying start, Fisherman’s Friend, another seasonal standby, has two great offers for wholesalers from 1st September, via distributor Ceuta Healthcare. There’s a 20% free offer on cash & carry cases of popular Sugar Free flavours Blackcurrant and Honey & Lemon, and 24 packs for the price of 22 on Aniseed, hero product Original Extra Strong, and Sugar Free Cherry.

“Medicated confectionery is widely recognised as a distress purchase and offers a huge opportunity to capitalise on impulse sales during the winter cough and cold season,” says Martin Stimson, UK Area Business Manager for Fisherman’s Friend.

High distress purchases of medicated confectionery were certainly the case in the first three months of 2018, as an extended winter and high incidence rates meant sales of Fisherman’s Friend were a record +33.4% higher than average for Q1 (Ceuta Healthcare figures). And, with the pollen count reaching a 12-year high, sales of Fisherman’s Friend were up +6.63% for July 2018 versus July 2017.

Fisherman’s Friend is a trusted brand with a high consumer loyalty, due to the brand’s iconic heritage and the ‘cult like’ status of the UK’s best-selling flavour Original Extra strong, which contains more menthol than competitor brands. Fisherman’s Friend’s visibility will be bolstered again this winter with a heavyweight marketing campaign featuring a combination of digital, social media and PR activity, as well as extensive trade promotions and sampling, to support the key winter sales period and maximise sales during the cough and cold season. The campaign will include the brand returning to TV screens in the New Year with adverts once again featuring world-renowned tenor Alfie Boe. The £1M burst will run throughout January 2019 across ITV and satellite channels.

“The Fisherman’s Friend campaign with Alfie Boe has become seminal amongst our loyal fan base, who expect to see Alfie on screens at the start of the New Year. Our record-breaking start to the year also proves how much sales growth benefits from the campaign. As such, it is a natural decision to repeat the activity as the ‘Alfie effect’ clearly resonates with shoppers, bringing new consumers into the category, and extending our appeal across generations.”

Solpadeine is the number six brand in value sales in total OTC. Brand owner Perrigo recently invested £1.3 million into a marketing initiative for Solpadeine, the highest brand investment in four years.

Laure de Brauer, head of marketing, get well brands at Perrigo says:

“As pain is a universal health problem, we believe Solpadeine has a significant role to play in achieving Perrigo’s company mission of making a difference to health,” de Brauer continued. “We firmly believe that no pain should hold you back, and are dedicated to making sure consumers are equipped with the right pain relief, for the right pain, for the right amount of time.”

Babycare is another important part of OTC medicine, says Andrew Wormald, Brand Manager at Dentinox, whose range covers Dentinox Infant Colic Drops, Dentinox Teething Gel and Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo.

Dentinox is currently experiencing growth on all its SKUs: Teething Gel is growing 7% in value YOY and is now worth over £1.2m with 11% of the category, while Colic Drops are up 6% to almost £600k and the Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo is in double-digit growth (Mintel.)

Overall total baby products and baby accessories sales have seen a 3% fall to £115m (Nielsen) but Andrew Wormald isn’t worried:

“The overall decline in the baby market may be due to the growth of supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl introducing limited ranges of baby care products,” says Andrew. “It’s convenient for parents to purchase these products while doing their usual supermarket shopping, but these big retailers don’t always provide the breadth of range to give shoppers opportunities to purchase that independent retailers do when fully supplied by wholesalers.”

43% of parents admit convenience is the most important factor when it comes to choosing products for their little ones (Mintel), confirming the importance of the independents in this area.

As the Dentinox range is specifically designed to target common baby ailments, Dentinox continue to reach out to first time mums, to ensure they are aware of the treatment options available to support their little ones. New mums are information hungry and seek out a range of sources, so a large scale ATL campaign is no longer the only way to gain awareness and traction with this audience. Dentinox recently launched a campaign focused on high-profile mummy influencers on Instagram, who have recently welcomed a new baby into their homes. The ‘Kindness to New Mums’ campaign is also being supported with blogger partnerships, social media and PR.

It’s a pain…

As the football season and the rugby season get under way, Potter’s Herbals research shows more than one third of us have avoided social activities or sports due to suffering from stiff or sore joints and over three quarters of adults say they have woken up in the morning experiencing stiff joints.

Dr Chris Etheridge, advisor to Potter’s Herbals says: “Evidence from trials shows that comfrey can help to relieve pain, inflammation and joints/muscle swelling. This includes cases of degenerative arthritis, acute myalgia in the back along with sprains, contusions and strains as a result of accidents or sports injuries.”

Potter’s Herbals Comfrey Oil with Eucalyptus is a soothing blend of herbal oils contains comfrey, also known as knitbone, which is renowned for its healing properties and traditionally used for the symptomatic treatment of minor sprains and bruises and Eucalyptus essential oil to stimulate blood flow, at £3.25 for 75ml.

Nelsons is a popular OTC supplier, whose products sell well all year round. Following the successful launch of RESCUE PLUS® Lozenge, Nelson’s RESCUE PLUS brand is adding an exciting new product to its portfolio, RESCUE PLUS Lozenge Berry.

The new berry format answers consumer demand for flavour innovation, after research carried out on RESCUE Pastilles showed the blackcurrant flavour to have a 10% increase in appeal, and an 18% increase in unit sales vs Orange & Elderflower (Nielsen Scantrack) It appeals to 25-34 year olds seeking a moment of calm in today’s constantly connected society.

RESCUE Brand Manager Emma Goessen says: “Increasingly consumers are looking for “on the go” products to help support their busy lifestyles. The product encompasses the convenient, familiar format of the original RESCUE PLUS Lozenge with a fruity mixed berry flavour that’s loved by consumers.

Extending the RESCUE PLUS range has enabled us to continue strengthening our position as the no.1 brand leader in emotional wellbeing, and providing a wider choice for consumers looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle in their dayto- day lives.”

Nelsons are supporting the launch with a fully integrated campaign that sees the updated ‘Breathe’ creative taking over tube and train car panels and 16 sheets on station platforms.