An Equal Opportunity Athlete’s Foot Cream

Jul 26, 2002

Novartis Consumer Health has spent six million dollars to inform women that Lamisil AT athlete’s foot cream is not just for men.

The New York office of Grey Worldwide has created a print advertising campaign that focuses on how to identify and treat a lesser-known variety of athlete’s foot. It is also intended to educate women that men and athletes are not the only ones susceptible to foot fungal infection.

Cross-gender campaigns such Lamisil’s, which aim to take advantage of untapped opportunities by repositioning messages to attract a new demographic group, are becoming more common, reports The New York Times. Novartis’ ads to sell the foot cream are based on the assumption that many women never knew the condition that it treats existed. Some industry critics are a bit skeptical, asking if advertising is simply creating the need to solve problems that are not really problems.

Consumers spend an estimated $310 million a year on athlete’s foot products, with Lamisil’s annual sales estimated at $60 million. M. J. Weldon, category director at Novartis estimates that sales to women would bring in an additional $10 million this year, with “the potential to be a category as large as the existing male category now.”

What is unusual about Lamisil is that it is using the same name and packaging of the same product to focus on two different users with different needs. Companies typically change packaging such as Pharmacia did with Rogaine, its hair replacement system.

Moderator Comment: Will Novartis Consumer Health’s plans to market Lamisil AT to women grow the athlete’s foot cream sales category?

Only if they can convince women to admit that they have
athlete’s foot. Based on a small and highly unscientific poll done here, women
believe that athlete’s foot is for men and they are not willing to be convinced
otherwise. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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