CAMPAIGNS: Product PR - Sufferers of cold sores take two

Client: SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare (Pittsburgh)
PR Team: Ketchum (Pittsburgh)
Campaign: Denavir Take 2 Contest
Time Frame: February to July 1999
Budget: Around dollars 300,000

Client: SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare (Pittsburgh)
PR Team: Ketchum (Pittsburgh)
Campaign: Denavir Take 2 Contest
Time Frame: February to July 1999
Budget: Around dollars 300,000

Client: SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare (Pittsburgh)

PR Team: Ketchum (Pittsburgh)

Campaign: Denavir Take 2 Contest

Time Frame: February to July 1999

Budget: Around dollars 300,000



Despite the company’s efforts, the FDA rejected SmithKline Beecham’s

attempt to switch its cold sore medicine, Denavir, from prescription to

over-the-counter status. The company regrouped and by February 1999 made

the decision to re-launch the two-year-old brand with a high-profile

campaign treating the prescription drug like an over-the-counter

product.



SmithKline Beecham called on Ketchum to create a campaign to help

Denavir compete with consumer remedies. The company looked to Ketchum to

motivate cold sore sufferers to learn more about Denavir through its Web

site and toll-free number. An event, ’The Denavir Take 2 Contest,’ was

created to help fuel media and consumer interest.





Strategy



Research found that - not surprisingly - people don’t like to talk about

their cold sores. The condition is rarely covered in the media because

it is not considered serious. The Denavir Take 2 Contest gave sufferers

a chance to re-do an important event in their lives that was affected by

a cold sore. For example, a couple explained how their vacation had been

ruined. Ketchum’s challenge was to drive cold sore sufferers to a

toll-free number or Web site for the contest.



Actress and model Karen Duffy was identified as a cold sore sufferer and

a Denavir user, and she became the national PR spokesperson. Duffy and

Dr. David Leffell, a noted Yale dermatologist, were paired for a media

blitz to discuss the emotional and medical impact of cold sores.





Tactics



A satellite television and radio tour with Duffy and Leffell was booked

in top media markets. Duffy shared her experiences concerning the

psycho-logical and social impact of cold sores on her life and

career.



Media kits were sent to health and features reporters at newspapers, TV

and radio outlets in the top 100 markets throughout the United

States.



The kit featured information about the contest, the new Web site and the

results of a Denavir/Gallup Poll (one finding: 80% of cold sore

sufferers correctly avoid kissing their loved ones during flare-ups). A

mat release was distributed to smaller markets.





Results



Halfway through the radio tour, JFK Jr.’s body was found after his plane

went down, and SmithKline Beecham had to cancel two interviews and

reschedule the television tour for two weeks later. ’We actually

obtained more interviews than were originally slated,’ says Ketchum

account executive Michelle Birkenfeld. There were 356 branded media

placements. Despite the rescheduling and the breaking news, the radio

and satellite tours reached 1.7 million people.



The media activity brought 16,707 calls to the toll-free number and the

Web site. The contest had 149 entries, almost double the goal.





Future



The winner of the Denavir contest was Kirk Redmann, who wrote in on

behalf of his cold-sore-suffering wife. SmithKline Beecham will be

re-doing a wedding for him and his wife since she had a cold sore on

their wedding day.



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