NEW YORK, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite a flurry of Rx-to-OTC switches in recent years, Americans still cling to classics such as Vicks, Tums, and Phillips Milk of Magnesia to cure what ails them, according to the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® (EQ) study. EquiTrend is an annual survey that measures and tracks consumer perception of brand equity for more than 1,500 leading brands.
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While Cold and Allergy, Pain Relief and Digestive Aids have been included as categories in EquiTrend for many years, three new categories have been added for 2012: Fiber, Laxatives, and Sleep Aids. The study results show that former prescription medications are still fighting for consumer brand equity, with many falling below the category averages in their respective categories.
"When a brand switches from prescription to OTC status, its leading launch claim is usually 'prescription-strength' or 'number-one selling prescription brand'," notes Joan Sinopoli, Senior Vice President of the Brand and Communications Consulting Group at Harris Interactive. "Perhaps that is not as strong a selling point as one would think. After years of hearing about potential risks and side-effects in Rx advertising, it is challenging to convince consumers that these 'switches' possess the right safety/efficacy balance. It will be interesting to see if or how Rx-to-OTC brands evolve over time."
Fragrant favorite for colds and allergies
Fragrant favorite Vicks Cold Medications emerges as the OTC Cold & Allergy Brand of the Year. "Some of our strongest memories are triggered by smell, and just the mention of Vicks can conjure up a parent's loving touch and a good night's sleep," suggests Sinopoli. "Vicks continues to benefit from its heritage and translate that into strong branding across its various line extensions for adults, children, nighttime, daytime, and anytime use."
2012 marks the second year in a row that Vicks has led the rankings in this group. Following Vicks are Benadryl and Tylenol Cold and Allergy Medications, both of which have rounded out the top three cold and allergy brands since they entered the study. Other brands ranking above the category average are Robitussin, Advil Cold and Sinus, Zyrtec, Sudafed, and Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine.
Tummies for Tums
When Americans suffer from upset stomachs, they grab Tums, the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend OTC Digestive Aid Brand of the Year. EquiTrend has included Digestive Aid brands in the study since 2005, with Tums ranking at the top of the list for six out of eight years. Also highly ranked over the last eight years is Pepto-Bismol, which is in second place for 2012. Additionally, Rolaids, Alka-Seltzer, and Maalox-Antacid earn scores above category average.
The 'blue bottle' is highest ranked OTC laxative
Still packaged in its original blue bottles, Phillips Milk of Magnesia has been in medicine cabinets since 1872. With 125 years of brand-building to count on, Milk of Magnesia has been named OTC Laxative Brand of the Year, in a category new to the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study. In second place, MiraLAX, a recent switch from prescription status, is the only other laxative brand to exceed the category average.
Consumers reach for Fibercon
New to the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study is the OTC Fiber Supplement category. Fibercon is the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend OTC Fiber Brand of the Year, followed by Metamucil.
Advil takes the top spot over Tylenol
In the perennial battle between Advil and Tylenol for the top spot in the Pain Relief category, Advil is named the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend OTC Pain Relief Brand of the Year. Third- ranked is Bayer, which captured the third place spot from Aleve in 2010, pushing Aleve into fourth place. Other brands above the category average include Motrin and Excedrin.
America sleeps easy with Tylenol PM
Sleep Aids is another new category in the 2012 Harris EquiTrend study. Out of six brands included in the survey, Tylenol PM is the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend OTC Sleep Aid Brand of the Year, followed by Nature Made Sleep and Advil PM. While the Tylenol and Advil PM line extensions are among the most familiar, it is noteworthy that a relatively unknown brand, Nature Made Sleep, also ranked in the top three, driven by higher Quality scores.
"The emergence of Nature Made Sleep in the top rankings shows that consumers are searching for alternative sleep therapies when pain relief is not necessary," said Sinopoli. "Nature Made is also benefiting from recent fallout regarding side-effects associated with prescription sleep aids, presenting a natural alternative perceived as safe."
About Harris Poll EquiTrend
Harris Poll EquiTrend® is a leading Brand Equity tracking study conducted by Harris Interactive that measures and compares brand health for more than 1,500 brands. The study was conducted online from January 31 through February 20, 2012 and analyzes the responses of over 38,500 consumers on key measures of brand health - including how well the public knows a brand, how positively they think of the brand and their consideration to do business with or donate to a brand. Each brand is rated 1,000 times among respondents who are familiar with the brand. Harris Interactive has conducted its EquiTrend study regularly since 1989, and can offer yearly trended data from 2005. The Equity Score, a key take-away from EquiTrend, has been validated against financial performance by Georgetown University.
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About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
SOURCE Harris Interactive