Walgreens Recommends Its Own Brands

Discussion
Feb 11, 2011

A new ad for Walgreens shows a photo of a woman in a white
coat with the headline, "Try
the brand of health and wellness products our pharmacists recommend." The
brand being recommend is Walgreens’ private label and that is at the heart
of a new national ad campaign the drugstore chain is launching this weekend.

According
to a New York Times report, the campaign emphasize the quality
and affordability of the Walgreens brand.

Kim Feil, chief marketing officer
for the chain, told the Times, "It’s
equally important that we elevate the Walgreens brand and product not just
on the basis of lower cost."

A survey of roughly 1,000 adults in the
U.S. by Walgreens and the Opinion Research Corporation helped the drugs chain
conclude that now was the right time to launch a national ad campaign for its
store brand. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said they had purchased
over-the-counter private label products. Thirty-six percent said their purchases
of private labels had increased in the past year.

Walgreens is getting its message
out there with television commercials, print, in-store and online. Banner ads
are said to make comparisons between Walgreens’ products and national brands.
The company has also donated products to prominent bloggers and invited their
reviews.

Discussion Questions: Is now the right time for Walgreens and other retailers to launch major store brand ad campaigns? Does the Walgreens campaign mark a change in its relationship with store brand manufacturers?

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10 Comments on "Walgreens Recommends Its Own Brands"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Two years ago was probably the right time, but better late than never.

Fabien Tiburce
Guest
Fabien Tiburce
10 years 3 months ago

Great…as long as the ad campaign focuses on the quality and only the quality of the private label products. Affordability should be built into the shelf price, not advertised. “Cheap” and “drugs” don’t belong in the same sentence in a consumer’s mind and advertising the affordability of the product would most likely undermine the core message about quality. In other words, go after both quality and price but only advertise the former, not the latter.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
10 years 3 months ago

A new era is upon us. Private label has become respectable, acceptable and desirable. Many leading retailers are wisely wrapping themselves inside of their private labels. Costco cherishes its Kirkland brand. Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Walmart, Kroger, Safeway and many other retailers are showcasing their private label and more consumers are responding with repeat purchases. Walgreens has wisely joined the era’s bandwagon. National brand manufacturers have a challenge.

Ben Ball
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Frankly, no. Now is not the right time. Twenty years ago was the right time.

U.S. retailers have essentially squandered the opportunity to build proprietary brands from the 1970s until a few started to “get it” in the ’90s. Now the flood gates are opening and soon the field for retailer brand awareness will be just as cluttered as it is for manufacturer brands. The opportunity for an iconic brand like “Marks & Sparks” to emerge is slim. But they could have…twenty years ago.

Dick Seesel
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Agree with Fabien that a price-only message (as opposed to value) won’t get the job done. Critical in a business like OTC health products to establish quality credibility, and the timing in light of J&J’s well-publicized missteps couldn’t be better for Walgreens.

Dan Berthiaume
Guest
Dan Berthiaume
10 years 3 months ago

There are differing opinions on this post–I lean toward saying this is the right (or at least “good”) time to launch a private label campaign. Brand loyalty has likely been permanently weakened by both the recession and by brands themselves sacrificing exclusivity to reach a broader audience. I do agree with some other posters who cautioned it can’t just be about having low prices, private label brands need to offer value comparable to at least lower-end name brands to be successful.

William Carlson
Guest
William Carlson
10 years 3 months ago
So, right time vs. wrong time doesn’t really mean much provided they’re in it for the long haul. Can’t look back on what might have been, so that argument is not meaningful. Question is, are they committed to supporting and promoting their own brands? If so, they’ll come out just fine if for no other reason than having nearly 8,000 stores nationwide. I would also argue that yes, “drugs” and “cheap” might not want to go together but…first, the market (all retailers) has demonstrated that today’s private brands rival national brands since, of course, the worst-kept secret is out that lots of private brands are nothing more than repackaged national brands (even where that is incorrect, most consumers think so). And second, insurance companies have forced us to go with “generic substitutes” when available on our prescriptions and as such, we’ve been taught that it’s all about the chemistry, formulation, ingredients, whatever, and not about the brand or the graphics on the box. For those who think they are late to the private brands game,… Read more »
Craig Sundstrom
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

The sun came up this morning too. It’s hardly news that a large company promotes its own brand, and even less newsworthy that they have one (must have been a very slow day over on 8th Ave.).

Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
10 years 3 months ago

I think for most consumers PL is a price alternative to national brands. I don’t see it as a first choice in all but a very few instances. I think Walgreen is swimming upstream on this one.

Shilpa Rao
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

I think the time is right. The economic downfall had made consumers ask “why not?” to private labels and they had tried several of the private label OTC drugs. If their experience was good, this short-term change in behavior could be converted into a long-term opportunity by building a brand image. This change needs reinforcement and I guess that’s what these ads are trying to do. Great move, Walgreens!

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