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Case Study Marketing: Nyquil

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 2228 words Published: 4th May 2017

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Nyquil is a brand of over the counter drug produced by Vicks, which is a division of the Procter and Gamble Company. This drug comes in form of syrup and liquid capsules and tablets that are used to for the treatment of a wide range of cold symptoms.

Marketing of Nyquil is done both in the domestic market and internationally by the Procter and gamble through it Vicks subsidiary that it bought from Richardson Vicks in 2005.Vicks is known world widely for it’s marketing of branded consumer health care products. Before its acquisition by P&G the Vicks Company had more than thirty subsidiaries all over the world some of which were acquired by P&G too. One of them is the India Richardson Hindustan Limited (RVL) Company that has greatly contributed in the manufacturing and distribution of the Nyquil drug (Richardson Vicks Inc. (RVI)).Nyquil is the number one drug recommended by pharmacists for night time relief of cold among adults and it is available in more than 70 countries within five continents where its distributed by varied P&G distributors.

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Drug distributors in pharmacies, government and private hospital and pharmaceutical companies get their Nyquil drugs shipped to their countries with the by the manufactures and the Subsidiaries of P&G pharmaceutical products. This physical distribution of the drug is done through a well organized supply chain that spreads from the manufacture to the consumer. The purchasing of this drug can either be done by physically visiting the pharmaceutical companies or by placing online bids through website like Amazon.com and Vicks.com Some pharmaceutical companies that don’t produce the Nyquil drug act as the distribution centers by buying the drug in bulk from Vicks company and other pharmaceutical associated with P&G and they repackage it with direction and permission from the manufacturer.

Such companies employ sales agents who sell the drug either directly or through the internet. They market Nyquil to the wholesalers, private buyers, hospitals and sometimes to selected retail dealers. The wholesalers buy from such companies, break the bulk and redistribute the drug to the retail sellers in pharmacies and small private hospitals. This multi channel distribution of Nyquil has made it easy to export the drug to various markets all over the world.

The marketing of the Nyquil drug has for the longest of time been assisted by its brand strength. Mention Nyquil to any American and they will understand what you are taking about. In fact it could equally qualify as the most abused cold over the counter drug since it has a sedating effect on its user. Widespread television radio and print advertisement have helped create product awareness and created ideal market exposure for the drug. The liquid variation of Nyquil was tested for the first time in 1966, and officially launched into the market in 1968 with several television and magazine advertisement and recommendation from the medical world. Consequently, Procter and Gamble used $ 17 million dollars to promote liquid Nyquil during its launch in 1980(New York Magazine 12 Vol. 24, No. 38)

Further more, Nyquil has become a common name to most house holds in American households and it’s the mostly recommended over the counter drug for remedying cold symptoms. Its slogan that calls it ‘The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, best-sleep-you-ever-got-with-a-cold medicine’ is an eye catcher for anyone displaying the mentioned symptoms of a cold. With this slogan comes a list of Nyquil variation, each tailored to the different formulations on offer. More over the Nyquil Liquid medication is available in ranges of the Soothing Original, Soothing Cherry, and Vanilla Cherry Swirl.

The earliest marketing of Nyquil also created a niche market for it as the best night time relieve for cold since it has an ingredient that makes someone drowsy and help him sleep peaceful. This quality of Nyquil was previously critiqued by those who didn’t want to use a cold remedy with the intention of sleeping immediately. To maintain the drug’s niche and retain her customers Vicks company came up with Dayquil, a daytime counter part of Nyquil which does not contain the sedating ingredients or alcohol that is found in Nyquil. Therefore, Procter and gamble s able to satisfy both the day time and night time consumers of effective cold remedy.

Another marketing method used in the marketing of Nyquil is the use of Nyquil Coupons. This coupons which are distributed by either Procter and Gamble Sunday News Circular supplement called ‘P&G Brand Saver’, from the physicians and allergists, weekly circular of pharmacies like Walgreen’s and CVS or in third party Coupon Sites like Coupon.Com.These coupons enables to one buy Nyquil medication at a discounted rate during a repeat purchase and are working to attract and sustain repeat buyers of the product. To make it easier for customers the coupons are available in clippable and printable online form, and so any person is able to access them (Pharmacy Drug Guide.com).

Another promotion strategy that was launched for this product in 2009 was the use of social media Facebook.According to the a customer review the most attractive thing about the Nyquil face book page was that the introductory language used in it did not try to get you straight to the product but first told you about the page itself detailing the growing number of its fans in order to make someone feel like he was missing out on something. During the same period it had a free Nyquil T-shirt offer for the Nyquil customers who posted the best ‘peaceful sleeping photos’ purported to have been taken after one had taken Nyquil for their cold.

According to another blogger, it took only 7 days for the number of Nyquil fans to grow from 30199 to 95,125 and in the next twenty four hours they had grown to a hundred thousand. This kind of marketing has created an extensive exposure to the product and interested buyers from all over the world can easily access information on it. In effect, the approach has helped in creating wide spread product knowledge and in beating the common misconceptions that competitor sometimes spread about the product.

Other than face book, marketers at P&G use different Websites to advertise their product. For instance, Vicks.com is a website that gives product information on all the variations of Nyquil medication and any promotions involved in its purchase and where to shop for it. For instance, on the Nyquil and Dayquil product information page there is information on the availability of Combo packages of the drug and on the promotion page there is a promotional advert that asks someone to “Search Nyquil on face book to enter the Vicks Nyquil/Dayquil search for the most dedicated NFL fan”. The Promotion catch line is “In the NFL there are no sick days”. Such promotional activities are aimed at appealing the drug to the NFL fans (Vicks.com).

The marketers of Nyquil have also been known to market the product through creation of its demand. This kind of marketing plays on human psychology by using words that are attractive to the consumer. Most Nyquil advertisements Market it as a medication that that work while a person is sleeping. This is interpreted to mean that it does not interfere with a person’s daytime schedule. This ‘night time’ appeal combined with the fact Nyquil tablet comes in not only Tablet and capsule form but also in liquid form helped increase the demand for the product. In essence there fore Nyquil is perceived as the most potent cold medication. This is a pull approach that helps in attracting consumers to the product without the manufacturer prodding them to do so. Although NyQuil contains 25% alcohol this remedy has become the gold mark of cold medication. However, the variation of Nyquil given to children only come in syrup form and does not contain any alcohol.

When it comes to customer care, P&G aims at providing the best for her Nyquil customers who are spread all over the world. The task of handling so many customers can be quite a logistic burden and man power burden to one company. There fore, P&G usually out-sources the customer care service from Public Relation experts on contract basis. This extra service complements and helps to build up the customer skills displayed by P&G personnel’s. For instance on June 30th, 2003 the company outsourced the customer care expertise of Syke Enterprises Incorporated on a five year contract at a cost of &70 million. Sykes, a reknown giant in provision of customer care services was to provide customer care management services and help provide solution to the P& G consumer problem and help save cost.

Part 2

Although the above marketing methods have helped open the sales gates for Nyquil some of them have achieved decreasing sustainability. For instance, in some cases P&G has been accused of engaging in illegal marketing strategies in the promotion of Nyquil. Example was in the late 2009 when P&G got itself under the scrutiny of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for illegally touting two Vicks branded over-the -counter drugs, Vicks Nyquil plus vitamin C and its day time counterpart Vicks daytime plus vitamin C as both a medication for cold as well as a dietary supplements. The marketing language used on this drugs said that they worked by “combining the powerful multi symptom relief of Dayquil with more than 150% of the recommended value of vitamin”. This was done as a marketing strategy during the time of a swine flu epidemic but FDA claimed that there isn’t well researched and verified material that shows vitamin C helps in prevention of colds. Consequently, the company was given 15 days to amend the violation (Straczynski).

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Market competitors of Nyquil have also critiqued the use of alcohol as an ingredient to the drug. This has led to the rampant abuse of the drug is search for the high that is derived from its overdose. Although it’s manufacturers tried remedying this problem by changing the formulation of this medication it realized that the sedating quality of the medicine was still needed by those suffering from cold. This made customers abandon the ‘New’ Nyquil in search for a drug with the qualities of the original Nyquil. Vicks was forced to revert back to the old formulation but the ‘Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005’ only allows regulated over the counter purchase of this drug.

Another critique is in the use of social media where one is only able to access the Nyquil page through series of ‘applications’ that asks for private information that may drive away potential customers. The Nyquil wall does not allow interactive participation of the fans and it fails on not engaging customers enough. Consequently, Instead of using the platform to engage their user they have reverted to the traditional marketing tactic where you are only allowed to see the product but you cannot comment on it. They forget that the number of fans on a social website page does not always translate to potential customers since some people just ‘like’ them for nostalgic reasons.

Lastly although the drug has become a brand in America, it may have corresponding competition from other cold remedy manufacturers when it goes to outside markets. Never the less most of the advertisement and promotional activities have been concentrated in America where there is already saturation of information. In consequence there the following remedial measures should be taken in marketing of Nyquil.

Instead of the manufacturer constantly changing the drug formulation due to it’s controversial sedating characteristics caused by the alcohol ingredient(Green 60), its marketers should be confident with the original Nyquil and market it as it is, since market research has shown that most initial consumers of this drug prefer it in its original form. Different formulation of the same medication erodes the consumer confidence in the product.

Second, if the marketers of Nyquil plan to use social media network for marketing and advertisement purposes they should do it in a way that allows for consumer feed back. Lack of interaction creates disinterest and most potential consumers are likely to ‘dislike’ the Nyquil page.

3. Illegal marketing strategy that gives lying information to consumers a marketing no-no that should be discouraged at any chance. Nyquil marketers should only advertise the truth about the product because customers may abandon the product when they find out that someone has been lying about it (Straczynski).This will happen due to reduced confidence in a product.

4. Finally, if P&G want to increase it sale of Nyquil to the market outside America, is should increase, it advertising and promotional activities in these countries through its subsidiaries and distributors. This will accentuate the sales volumes especially from the largely untapped market.


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