Tag Archives: marketing success

Brand Success: Tylenol

Have you ever asked for acetaminophen?

More than likely, you’ve asked if anyone has some Tylenol.  That’s a classic example of brand success.  If you visit the Tylenol website, you’ll find 20 different varieties of the product, and learn that the parent company is the McNeil Laboratories subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

logo-tylenolIn the mid ’70s, Tylenol moved from the 5th most popular analgesic to become the number one branded over the counter (OTC) analgesic product on the market.  It had become a more familiar pain relieving product than aspirin.  As often happens when a product is the top-selling or more recognized brand, someone or something tries to take it down.

In 1982, someone tampered with bottles of Tylenol Extra Strength by adding cyanide which killed several people in the Chicago area.  No one was ever caught, but Johnson & Johnson made a smart move.  The company distributed warnings to hospitals and distributors and halted Tylenol production and advertising. On October 5, 1982, it issued a nationwide recall of an estimated 31 million bottles of Tylenol products with a retail value of more than $100 million.

Some considered the move a death knell for the product, while the consuming public praised it for the emphasis placed on the greater well-being of the general public.

The company advertised in the national media for individuals not to consume any products that contained acetaminophen.  When it was discovered that only capsules were tampered with, Johnson & Johnson offered to exchange all Tylenol capsules already purchased by the public with solid tablets.  The company also took the innovative step of creating tamper proof seals for bottles, creating a renewed sense of security with the consuming public when Tylenol was re-released.

Now, more than 30 years later, the tampering incident is little more than a footnote in the product’s history.  The Tylenol brand owns the market for acetaminophen pain relieving products.  Bayer still owns the brand recognition for aspirin, while one of the other pain relieving medications, Ibuprofen, has become recognized for the product rather than the manufacturer.  In essence, it is it’s own brand.

The lesson in this case study of a successful brand is that Tylenol has dominated when it comes to the 1st Law of Marketing:  The Law of Leadership.

It is the leading brand because it is the first brand in the prospective customer’s mind.  People don’t ask for acetaminophen, they ask for Tylenol.  Once you have a customer, they are likely to stick with your brand – as evidenced by Johnson & Johnson’s success with recalling Tylenol products because of the tampering incident.  Tylenol has become the generic term for acetaminophen, another example of that 1st Law of Marketing.

Remember that marketing is perception, not the product, so people perceive the first product in their mind to be the superior product.  The first brand tends to maintain its leadership because the name often becomes generic, as is the case with Tylenol.

Professional consultants are available to help your product become the #1 brand at whatever scale is possible.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand

Designing a Print Ad

We have been receiving some good feedback, and although we’re not sure which of our posts are most appreciated, we will keep providing marketing and business-related topics designed to help you operate your business more profitably.

Before getting into how to design an attention-getting print advertisement, however, let’s remember that marketing involves every aspect of your business.  Everything from how your parking lot looks to the first impression of users checking out your website, and from how your staff treats customers to what your business cards look like.

Example:  Attended a meeting this morning at a banquet facility where the entrance doors looked like they had been washed with a dirty towel.  Yes, that bad!  Something so simple to do right, yet when done poorly has a tremendous impact on whether to recommend the facility for a wedding reception or other event.  Makes you wonder how they do the dishes.  Suggestion to management:  Fix it, even if you have to do it yourself!

Back to business:  When it comes to designing an ad, remember your audience.  Is the ad – in total – appealing to your prospective customers?  Do you have a headline or other attention-getting device?  Headlines need to appeal to the readers’ interests.  Does it help them avoid pain or obtain pleasure?

As with any message, the first requirement is to get the person’s attention.  The next requirement is to keep their attention long enough to receive and absorb the message so they can act on what you want them to do.  Do you know what you want them to do?  Do you call them to perform that action?  Copy sells.  Art enhances.  Print ad basics.

Print ad design sample 2-11-14

Headlines, traditionally, cover the top of an ad but can be used creatively in other locations to grab more attention.  The sample ad here uses a “Z” design method based on the natural American/English tendency to read from left to right.  The headline leads the eye to the image of the two cats, which then flows down to the logo and across to the call to action.  Pay attention to where the eye is drawn in an ad, because that should be where the most important information is conveyed to the viewer.

In the sample, note that the copy ties to the image, adding relevance to the impression the picture of the two cats conveys.  If you want your potential customers to stop by your place of business, an address and/or directions (including a QR code) should be included somewhere in the ad.  In this case, it’s to call for professional assistance.

Humor can be used quite effectively, but remember that some people will appreciate the humor while others could be turned off by it.  The image of the pointed gun is meant to relate to Brand Irons in a humorous way, but could easily be interpreted as the threat of gun violence if you neglect to make the call.  That brings to mind a topic every business should think about.  Do you have an active shooter protocol in place?

Another ad variable:  The personality characteristics of your desired audience can be used to your advantage in designing your ads.  There’s more in the book, Small Business Owner’s Guide to Marketing.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand