Client: Scotia Holdings
PR Team: Jean Garon PR
Campaign: Launch of Olibra
Timescale: December 1997- on-going
Olibra is a food ingredient made from natural oils and developed by
Scotia Pharmaceuticals. The company claims it acts as an appetite
suppressant when added to manufactured foods.
To alert food manufacturers that Scotia had developed this new
Encourage manufacturers to approach Scotia to discuss licensing Olibra
for use in their products and possible joint ventures.
Olibra was mentioned as a breakthrough technology at Scotia’s interim
results in September and immediately attracted a lot of interest.
However, a general industry launch was held back until Swedish company
Skanemeierier had conducted extensive tests and market research on
Olibra and was ready to launch a yoghurt called Maval containing
Jean Garon, who has worked on the Scotia account since helping the
company prepare for flotation in 1992, was briefed in early December to
prepare for a trade launch.
’Our prime aim was a business-to-business launch, but we knew it was
such an exciting concept that it would attract a lot of interest from
consumer media,’ says Garon.
Garon’s work for Scotia includes handling financial and corporate PR as
well as work for the Efamol division which markets nutritional
supplements, so she was able to make use of contacts with City health
correspondents as well as the pharmaceutical media. Olibra was formally
launched at a press conference in London on 8 January.
’As a pharmaceutical company we probably presented the material in a
quite different way to a food company. There was no hype, the facts were
just presented in a very scientific way,’ says Garon.
A University of Ulster research team, which was commissioned by
Skanemeierier, presented the findings from a placebo-controlled trial of
a yoghurt containing Olibra which showed that people who snacked on the
Olibra yoghurt consumed 16 per cent less calories at dinner.
Garon added that she did not believe it necessary to allocate part of
the budget for planning or evaluation of the campaign, because of the
agency’s long and varied experience in working for Scotia.
As anticipated, the launch of Olibra attracted a huge amount of media
attention. The story made the front page of the Daily Telegraph and was
covered by the Times, Financial Times, Independent, Daily Mail, Daily
Express, Sun, Evening Standard, Scotsman, Manchester Evening News,
Glasgow Herald and Wall Street Journal, to mention but a few. Some
papers covered the story on both City and general news pages.
On the morning of the launch, there was a piece on BBC Business
Breakfast, and other broadcast items included BBC 1 News, BBC Working
Lunch, Channel 5 News, BBC Radio 1 and 4, CBS, ABC and Bloomberg
Television. Tomorrow’s World recently filmed an item on Olibra.
Coverage from the trade press is still coming in, but Garon says around
50 interviews were conducted with journalists from the UK, USA, Japan
and throughout Europe. The magazine Scrip, which is read by the
pharmaceuticals industry around Europe, devoted a whole page to the
The product met with the obvious approval of the City as Scotia’s shares
rose 22.5p to 325p on the launch day. By mid-January, Scotia had
received around 50 enquiries from major food manufacturers interested in
By conducting a business-to- business campaign through the consumer
media, as well as the trade press, the campaign proved cost-effective
and produced widespread media coverage. Garon believes the media
coverage generated was key to attracting the interest of the major food