Brands return to shelves with fanfare

Both Novartis Consumer Health and McNeil Consumer Healthcare will be making strong comebacks across their respective analgesic portfolios in the second half of this year, which will make a fourth-quarter battle royale across analgesics, as well as cough-cold.

Retail partners are excited about getting these venerable brand names back on shelf, suggested Stefan Merlo, director of healthcare strategy at Novartis Consumer Health, as part of a special edition of DSN Executive Viewpoints. "They're treating them almost as if they are new launches," he said. "And they are investing [with us] in different types of displays, innovative types of [displays] so that we can make the awareness about these brands even greater."

McNeil has similarly pledged to partner with key retail partners "on strategic relationships that are ... supporting their health and wellness strategies," noted Sandra Peterson, group worldwide chairman at McNeil, in a recent analyst call. "By year-end, our plan is to deliver reliable and consistent supply of three-quarters of the product brands."

As Novartis and McNeil ramp up marketing and merchandising commitments for the fourth quarter, competitors are expected to follow suit. "The combination of [McNeil] and Novartis coming back at the same time, you'll have those companies ... doing more merchandising, advertising and promotion," Laura Mahecha, industry manager at Kline Healthcare, told DSN. "The competitive set will match them [so as to] not get lost in [the] noise," she said.

With the return of brands like Tylenol and Excedrin, Prestige Brands is looking to shake up the internal analgesics space with the launch of Goody's Headache Relief Shot. "We believe the Goody's Headache Relief Shot is truly a game-changer in pain relief," stated Joseph Juliano, brand director for Goody's. "There is no other product like it on the market."

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