Two-phase effort helps relaunch Today Sponge

MEDIA, PA: Synova Healthcare recently initiated a two-phased PR program to support the relaunch of Today Sponge. The effort is targeted at healthcare professionals, as well as consumers.

MEDIA, PA: Synova Healthcare recently initiated a two-phased PR program to support the relaunch of Today Sponge. The effort is targeted at healthcare professionals, as well as consumers.

The American Home Products-manufactured Today Sponge reached pop-culture fame when it was featured as a prominent storyline on a famous Seinfeld episode in the 1990s.

The company, now known as Wyeth, discontinued the item in 1995. Synova took over the rights to the sponge when it acquired Allendale Pharmaceuticals, which purchased the rights to market the sponge in 1998, this year.

The consumer-outreach component of the effort kicked off in July when the new version of the product became available in stores, starting in Walgreens. Synova is targeting 18- to 49-year-old women.

Synova then launched the new Web site, www.todaysponge.com. Both the package and the site are bright pink and purple and feature animated drawings of female characters at different stages of their lives.

"We wanted something to stand out on the shelf," said Stephen King, CEO at Synova. "It was important to bring the sponge back and give women a choice. It empowers them, gives them a degree of discretion."

The relaunch has also garnered a fair amount of media coverage from major TV and print media outlets. The product was recently featured on CNN, as well as in The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Kate Gormley, SAE at Dorland Global PR, Synova's AOR, said one of the goals of the campaign is to make the product relevant to 21st century women.

"When Synova acquired Allendale and the rights of the sponge..., [it] researched with patients and physicians and found that most didn't know it was on the shelf," she said. "The marketing campaign intends to bring the product to this century."

Dudnyk worked with Synova on redesigning the package and on the consumer part of the relaunch.

Phase one of the initiative began in early May when the company reintroduced the Today Sponge to healthcare professionals at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Conference. It has since begun an e-mail- blast and direct-mail campaign targeting this group.

"We purposefully spent a lot of effort on promotion to the healthcare professional," King said. "We wanted to make sure that when women went to the doctor, they knew it was back."

The outreach efforts appear to be working. A July 17 news release issued by Synova reports that unit sales of Today Sponge have increased as much as 17% since the May relaunch.

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