GSK education initiative for alli to focus on expert advice

PITTSBURGH Because it’s a different kind of “diet aid” that’s advertised as “not for everyone,” GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare this week announced plans for a different kind of New Year campaign to appeal to the many consumers resolving to lose weight in 2008.

According to a new survey of 2,058 adults, conducted in late November by Harris Interactive on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline, 52 percent of Americans say they plan to make a serious attempt to lose weight next year.

GlaxoSmithKline is underwriting free access to expert advice from healthcare professionals as part of its promotion of alli, as opposed to billboarding the sexy before-and-after pictures of successful dieters typical of the category.

“Millions of overweight and obese Americans are incredibly frustrated with their efforts to lose weight, and unrealistic expectations and false hope feed that frustration,” stated Steven Burton, vice president, weight control, for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. “Our goal is to give dieters the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and to help them identify weight-loss strategies that are safe, effective and proven to help them lose weight.”

Dieters value such support, GlaxSmithKline stated, though they rarely take advantage of it—73 percent of U.S. adults who plan to make a serious attempt to lose weight in 2008 believe that outside help from a dietitian, pharmacist or other healthcare professional would help them achieve their weight loss goals, but only 13 percent plan to seek such support.

From Jan. 4-7, alli will sponsor “Make This Year Different,” a weight-loss event designed to ease some of the barriers to seeking expert advice and to help overweight adults benefit from the counsel of healthcare professionals. 

Dieters older than 18 can access that free healthcare advice with one phone call—866-551-DIFFERENT, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.—and will be connected to an actual dietitian or pharmacist. Pre-recorded diet, nutrition, behavioral and exercise tips will also be available through the phone line, and that information will remain accessible through Jan. 31.

Individuals can also visit between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST for live online chats with dietitians or pharmacists, in either a private or group chat room discussion. The web site will also feature diet and exercise videos and answers to common questions about the alli weight-loss program.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare announced in October that it had sold more than 2 million alli starter packs at retail.

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