CAMPAIGNS: Product launch - Sperm drug targets doctors

Client: Sigma-Tau Consumer Products

Client: Sigma-Tau Consumer Products

Client: Sigma-Tau Consumer Products

PR Team: Fleishman-Hillard (Washington, DC, and New York)

Campaign: Launch of proXeed, new dietary supplement to optimize sperm


Time Frame: Second quarter of 1999

Budget: dollars 250,000 (estimated)

To help couples having difficulty conceiving, Sigma-Tau Consumer

Products earlier this year introduced to the US a dietary supplement to

improve sperm quality. Thirty years of study had shown that the

supplement, proXeed, enhances the quality of sperm in terms of count,

size, shape, motility and speed. The launch represented the company’s

entry into the dietary supplement industry as well as into the

reproductive health market. Sigma-Tau Consumer Products is a division of

Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Italy’s premiere prescription drug

manufacturer, with US headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD.


Since proXeed is available through a toll-free number and web site and

not in health food stores, pharmacies or retail outlets, the objective

of the launch was to generate awareness and interest among healthcare

providers prior to its introduction to consumers. Ultimately, the

company wanted to educate the media and public about sperm quality and

about proXeed.


Fleishman-Hillard began building the foundation for the product launch

in late 1998. FH worked with Sigma-Tau’s Web design company, ad agency

and research firm to focus on building alliances with the health

community and developing appropriate messages.

The agency worked with Sigma-Tau to develop a number of key messages,

including: poor sperm quality is a contributing factor in 40% of

couples’ difficulty in conceiving and proXeed does one thing well - it

optimizes sperm quality.

After creating a press kit, VNR and ANR, the team conducted a satellite

media tour that blended with collateral sales materials and a consumer

brochure. This was followed by the creation of a web site, advisory

meetings with infertility specialists and sales calls to physicians, and

advertising in leading medical journals.


To date, impressions achieved via TV, radio and print media have totaled

more than 53 million, Fleishman reports. The media coverage is credited

with gaining greater access to targeted healthcare audiences. Color

product shots in recent media such as The New York Times have increased

awareness among consumers.

Although sales figures were not available, Sigma-Tau had a significant

increase in web-site traffic, inquiries to its 800 phone number and

meetings with physicians.

New customers reportedly increased 240%, product orders rose 1,066% and

the quantity of product per order went up 127%.


Sigma-Tau will use its heightened awareness to increase discussions

about male infertility at upcoming medical conferences, such as those of

the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

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