CAMPAIGNS: Eczema tour of UK boosts GSK remedy - Consumer Health

Client: GlaxoSmithKline PR Team: AGA PR Campaign: Itch Scratch Cycle Tour Timescale: June-September 2003 Budget: Approximately £50,000

According to figures from the National Eczema Society, one in five children and one in 12 adults are affected by eczema. GlaxoSmithKline already has one product on the market, Eumovate, which is used during an attack. It has also launched another, Eumobase, which is intended for long-term treatment.

Keen to get trial versions into the public's hands, it turned to AGA PR to devise a campaign that would encourage word-of-mouth recommendation.

Objectives

To raise the profile of the itch-scratch cycle among sufferers, enabling them to better understand the symptoms they are suffering. To launch Eumobase among this group.

Strategy and Plan

AGA decided to concentrate on the cycle aspect of the condition and so arranged to have two oversized working bicycles constructed - both one and a half times larger than the average bicycle and branded with the product's signage. The team then arranged a ten-day tour of 14 towns and cities around the country, starting in Newcastle and ending in Bristol. The areas were identified from GlaxoSmithKline's sales of Eumovate, and from pharmaceutical trade figures, as having high clusters of eczema sufferers.

One of the bikes was mounted on the back of a truck, while the other was free-standing. Both were fully working and members of the public were invited to try-out the truck-based one which was wired up to a mile-ometer.

For every mile they cycled, the campaign would give £1 to the National Eczema Society.

Although GlaxoSmith-Kline does have links with the society, it is the first time they have worked so closely together. Along with the bikes, free trial products of Eumobase were handed out, accompanied by literature from both GlaxoSmithKline and the society.

Measurement and Evaluation

Regional newspapers in every area the campaign visited, such as the Swindon Evening Advertiser, covered the events, as did many regional radio stations including the BBC, Wave FM, Sun FM and Fox FM.

Results

Unit sales are segmented to illustrate regional contributions, and results out in September showed that the biggest single rise in sales was experienced in the Yorkshire region, which saw a 25 per cent increase. This was closely followed by the north-east region, with a sales increase of 23 per cent.

Around £1,000 was raised through members of the public using the bikes for the National Eczema Society.

Swindon Evening Advertiser reporter Alex Emery said: 'It was an imaginative way to highlight a serious condition, and the public responded really well to the campaign.' Local radio broadcast journalist Ashley Heath agreed: 'It was a very clever way of explaining a medical subject, and a good piece of thinking.'

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