In a category where unit sales were down -2%, Zicam Allergy Relief unit
sales were UP +15 points above goal

Project Challenge

  • Since its introduction in 2000, Zicam Allergy Relief had been unable to get traction in the extremely competitive over-the-counter allergy category. This was attributed to several factors: – As a relatively unknown player in a market that includes mature and trusted brand names such as Claritin and Benadryl, it was an uphill battle to gain market share and make a name for itself in the category. – The FDA approval of Claritin to be sold over-the-counter in 2002 caused a drastic increase of media spending in the category creating an even bigger hurdle for Zicam Allergy Relief. In 2004, their Share of Voice was 0.08% and key competitors were spending up to 66 times as much as Zicam. – Their presence was almost invisible at the retail level. – Due to declines in 2004 dollar and unit sales, Zicam Allergy Relief was forced to reduce advertising spending in 2005 and condense the media flight, causing a late start to our spring allergy advertising efforts.


  • Our research indicated that our key prospects were women “gate-keepers”, responsible for reviewing the OTC products that they brought into their homes, and that these women wanted allergy medications without side-effects like drowsiness.


  • Given Zicam’s awareness limitations, we focused on a reach-strategy, choosing publications and websites with high coverage against women gate-keepers
  • Our recommended magazines and websites resonated with the lifestyle of our target by focusing on the cornerstones of Family, Home, and Self
  • We also positioned our ads in key editorial sections that spoke to activities associated with allergies, such as pets, gardening, and other outdoor activities


  • With no significant changes at the retail level and year-to-date allergy incidence down -2.8%, Zicam Allergy Relief’s new advertising was the only change that could be credited for successfully increasing unit and dollar sales above goal for the first half of 2005 – In a category where unit sales were down -2%, Zicam Allergy Relief unit sales were UP +15 points above goal – In a category where overall dollar sales were down -1%, Zicam Allergy Relief dollar sales were UP +11 points over goal