Wednesday, March 29, 2006


How to promote heartburn

Over the past few years, I've had the pleasure of working with public relations firm Manning Selvage & Lee, helping them promote various products and services with some news-generating public opinion polls. One such client of theirs is Prilosec OTC, the famous over-the-counter heartburn treatment for those who suffer from frequent heartburn (on a self-reported basis, about 13% of the American adult population).

Last year, MS&L had ICR run a quick survey in our Excel Omnibus program, asking over 1,000 adults about what type of music is their favorite. We found that, nationally, seven listed styles of music stacked up as follows:

  • Country was most popular, the favorite among 26% of adults


  • Rock was next, tops among 17%


  • Pop / Top-40 was favored by 15%


  • Classical at 10% (however, 22% among senior citizens)


  • Rhythm and Blues at 8%


  • Hip-hop / Rap at 7% (however, 18% among 18-34 year olds)


  • Jazz at 5%


  • Another 11% of respondents said that their favorite type of music was not on that list of seven varieties. Anyway, why would Prilosec OTC want to know what kind of music people like? Well, they really wanted to know what kind of music that frequent heartburn sufferers like! And that proved to be Country -- even more than the general population. In fact, among Prilosec OTC's target market, Country music is preferred by 38% of adults, which is statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, versus non-heartburn adults (24% preference).

    So, how did MS&L put this information to use for Prilosec OTC? I'll let some of their press release speak for itself:

    NEW YORK, Nov. 10, 2005 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time ever, the Country Music Association (CMA) is bringing Country to New York City for the presentation of the 2005 CMA Awards, and several events have been planned from November 10th through November 15th to help New York City celebrate.

    ...On Friday, November 11th at the historic Roseland Ballroom, Country Music performers, including the legendary Charlie Daniels, will join together with athletes and dignitaries in a variety concert to raise money and awareness for the veterans of America's armed forces and their families. Prilosec OTC will introduce the grand prizewinner of The Prilosec OTC Burning to Sing Your Heart Out Contest, Dallas Burnett, at the event. As part of his prize, Dallas will perform on stage with Charlie Daniels during the concert.


    ..."Prilosec OTC and Country Music have something in common -- they are both #1 with people who suffer from frequent heartburn. We have had so much fun working with the CMA to celebrate Country Music and educate consumers about frequent heartburn. This was an exciting venture for us as we connected with so many different types of people and Country Music fans from all across the country," said Kip Olmstead, Brand Manager of Prilosec OTC.


    Fun, indeed. If you want, you can even check out the fan-written song video that won the contest.


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