How Covonia predicted where coughs would strike to get the most from its marketing spend

Coughs and sneezes spread a marketing message for Covonia in a category-first campaign.

Cough medicine brand Covonia – part of healthcare group Thornton & Ross – decided to step up its game for the 2019/20 cough season. It launched an innovative and technologically smart campaign that challenged category rules, while reducing its marketing budget and setting ambitious commercial targets.

To achieve these goals, Covonia’s long-standing ‘Feel the Power’ message moved away from its TV-led focus previously, with a two-pronged approach to targeting via a carefully focused digital campaign. Integrated marketing agency Bray Leino handled the activity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) was used to deliver a ‘cough predictor’ that let the brand target areas experiencing coughing outbreaks, aiming product messaging at consumers in their moment of need. Meanwhile, an audience of ‘easy switchers’ was identified and targeted to gain competitive advantage.

Creative was tailored to suit the channels used and maximise the effectiveness of media spend.

Awareness-driving ‘Hit Irritations Hard’ ads were used to ensure cut-through, using Vince – Covonia’s Bull character – to smash through irritations with the message.

The cough predictor technology allowed Covonia’s online activity to be switched on and off as applicable across 12 regions, forecasting cough outbreaks one week ahead with 95% accuracy.

The objective of the campaign was to increase market share by a percentage point, to 24%, drive up seasonal sales and increase market penetration among 18-34 year old consumers. The goals were met, with Covonia sales increased by 7%, outperforming the market by 4%, during the season.

The campaign won the Marketing Week Masters award for health and life sciences. And the judges said they were “very impressed with a market player who is spending less than competitors can spend smarter and achieve better results”.



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