CAMPAIGNS: Business-to-Business PR - Food market is hungry for Olibra

Client: Scotia Holdings

Client: Scotia Holdings

PR Team: Jean Garon PR

Campaign: Launch of Olibra

Timescale: December 1997- on-going

Cost: Undisclosed

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

using Olibra.


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


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