At a glance: Cough, cold and flu remedies

You mean pills and potions? From December to March, it’s not unknown for Brits to be wrapped up in bed at some point with cough, colds or flu, which means winter-ailment brand PR is in full swing.

Haven’t we just had National Cold and Flu Week?

It was last month – but top brands are now unleashing their PR campaigns in the run-up to Christmas.

The products don’t lend themselves to Yuletide fun, do they?

True, you’re not likely to invoke Mr Claus in campaigns such as this. There’s no point trying to wrap up sneezes and sniffles as anything other than seasonal irritants that have to be overcome. Among leading names, Benylin cough medicine and Lemsip cold remedies are mounting big consumer pushes.

How are they approaching it?

Saffron PR has concentrated on a target group that doesn’t have time to stop for colds or flu for Reckitt Benckiser’s Lemsip. PR has been based around a national sampling campaign – during commuter hours it gave away 170,000 tissues, dual-branded Lemsip and Kleenex, focusing on Lemsip Max Cold and Flu capsules. Munro & Forster is supporting a new poster campaign for its client Pfizer’s Benylin Chesty Coughs Non-Drowsy and Benylin 4 Flu. On the trade side, it is launching education campaigns to pharmacists in an attempt to increase the chances of recommendation of the products.

So PR is important for these brands?

By no means for all of them. This week, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare started pushing Beechams All In One and Max Strength Sore Throat Relief Lozenges on the advertorial section of the Pharmacy Channel (PRWeek, 26 November). But it has no retained agency for Beechams, or for its Veno’s cough mixture range, so tends not to support advertising with PR.

So does PR activity end in spring?

Colds and coughs are big business in winter, but brand PROs admit that they can have a ‘good’ cold and flu season in the summer, too.

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