Health and Loyalty

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May 02, 2005
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By John Hennessy

According to a recent poll conducted for Target Stores, 60 percent of prescription-drug users have taken medication incorrectly. Twenty-nine year old graphic designer Deborah Adler thought that made the decades-old prescription drug bottles not only ugly but dangerous.

Ms. Adler’s ClearRx prescription packaging system debuts at Target pharmacies May 1. She was inspired to pursue a new design for prescription bottles after her grandmother accidentally swallowed pills meant for her husband.

The new bottle is a complete makeover with lots of improvements:


  • The label information is presented by importance,
  • Using a flat surface makes the label easier to read,
  • Warnings are clear,
  • The bottles even include the ability to attach unique-colored rubber rings so each family member can have their own color.

Moderator’s Comment: Why did it take so long for something so obviously flawed and dangerous to undergo customer-beneficial improvement? What are some
other sleeping giants that could benefit from innovation?

Heinz and Campbell’s recently discovered gravity. Heinz with an upended ketchup bottle and Campbell’s with it’s gravity-feed soup can shelf system.
Good for business. Good for shoppers.

If Target doesn’t gain prescription sales based on this innovation, it will be due to a huge failure in marketing the benefits of this packaging innovation.
Here’s a packaging improvement that can save lives!

How is this packaging innovation about loyalty? Well, fewer Target customers will die from prescription mishaps. That’ll keep ’em coming back.

Customers are certain to get used to these superior, safer containers and shift prescription business to Target. Gaining more business is what any loyalty
program is all about. Why would I shop at a retailer that is less concerned about proper use of the medications it dispenses?

Prior to leaning about this packaging innovation, I had not considered using Target to fill a prescription. I’m not even sure I knew Target had a pharmacy.
Target just moved onto and up the list. And while I’m waiting for that prescription, there’s this whole store of neat stuff. Good move Target.

John Hennessy – Moderator

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8 Comments on "Health and Loyalty"


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Peter Fader
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

Not just a good move — a brilliant move on Target’s part. I heard coverage of this new bottle on NPR last week. Priceless PR.

Seemingly little things like this new bottle are so much more impactful than all the cockamamie loyalty programs that most chains are obsessed with.

I hope (and expect) they will see great success from this one maneuver. Nice case study on retail R&D done right…

Art Williams
Guest
Art Williams
15 years 9 months ago

This sounds like a great innovation for their present customers, but I find it very hard to believe that it will draw new customers. It might prevent existing customers from switching if they get accustomed to it and like it. Maybe if Target had better prices or more convenience to go along with it, but just a new pill container doesn’t make a big enough statement in my opinion. If it causes the major drug store chains to do something similar, then we will all benefit.

Adrienne McNicholas
Guest
Adrienne McNicholas
15 years 9 months ago

I believe that the design is extremely thoughtful and intelligent and that Target is outstanding for introducing and developing the program with the designer. Brilliant…. But what saddens me is that Target may not be rewarded at the levels I feel they deserve because so many Americans are now on employer organized prescription plans that require that they buy their prescriptions from some predesignated vendor that won the contract on price price price…not on serving the customer. Sadly this particular innovation is in an area where many customers are not free to reward the vendor who shows the most thought and appreciation for their needs and wants. I will be making a point of getting prescriptions written before trips to the US so that I can fill them at Target and reward them for taking a risk and improving a very important piece of packaging.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 9 months ago

If this new, patented packaging innovation actually saves lives, wouldn’t it be a shame to withhold it from all but Target customers? I hope that Target finds a way to license their patent to their competitors, in the interests of user safety.

Innovation comes in fits and spurts, often clustered around centrally-shared concepts. When, following the Tylenol scare, packaged goods manufacturers decided it might be a good idea to safety-seal all their products, a flurry of innovative ways to do so were tried and adopted. I’m hoping that ClearRx creates a similar flurry.

Doug Fleener
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

I would agree with the earlier comments that this may not result in increased revenue. What I do like about it though is it reinforces to the Target customer Target’s market position on quality and good design. Will more people flock to Target to get their prescriptions filled? I doubt it. Will news stories and advertisements about the new packaging reaffirm the choice to be a Target customer? Absolutely. Anything that Target can do to differentiate themselves from Wal-Mart and other discounters is a smart move, and making that move on an improved design that results in a better experience for their customer is an even smarter move.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 9 months ago

The bottle design is brilliant but I am puzzled by the way in which Target managed to “snap up” the patent. How on earth did this happen and why was it allowed to be restricted to a single retailer? All the reasons mentioned by other contributors apply – this is a sensible design for which it is more than time. It should be used for all prescriptions by all retailers and manufacturers. Does having the patent mean that Target will be able to choose if or when to issue licenses, to whom and for how much? If so, then they are sure to make a killing. Could this be their real reason for doing it? And what of the woman who designed it? Surely it was not her intention for one retailer to be able to capitalise on a design which was meant to help anyone and everyone having prescription medication. I’d really like to know more about what this means and the reasons behind it.

John Hennessy
Guest
John Hennessy
15 years 9 months ago

I immediately thought of Doc Banks’ idea of Target licensing its patent to everyone. Perhaps just for a “supplied by Target” moniker on the label. I can see Walgreens, CVS and others lining up now. But really, this redesign is so effective, they should consider some kind of licensing.

I was disappointed that this Sunday’s Target ad featured an old prescription bottle graphic in what I suppose is the standard blurb promoting the pharmacy. Right hand, meet left hand.

If Target drops the marketing ball on this one, they should be forced by the patent office to release this design.

L. BellShock
Guest
L. BellShock
15 years 8 months ago
I just had one of my scripts filled at Target, just to get a first hand look at the new bottle design, and I have to say it’s a total winner. I kind of wish I had a liquid prescription, so I could better see the new design for that as well. As for the patent thing, I do think it’s sad that they would want to keep this design to themselves… it’s capitalism, I know, but it still stinks. But for what it’s worth, here is some good news… There are many other creative designers out there that can come up with their own unique twist, without infringing on Ms. Adler’s Wonderful Design. Also, I just searched through the US Patent Database, and couldn’t find a single reference to a patent for this new bottle, which means it’s still pending. But even if and when the patent is issued, I believe it’s only secure for 7 years… Please correct me if I’m wrong on this, Okay? Bottom line, if this design does remain exclusive,… Read more »
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