AstraZeneca Campaigns Online for Nasal Spray

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AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals has begun new online advertising to build visibility for Rhinocort Aqua Nasal Spray, a prescription product for nasal allergy relief.

Targeting sufferers of perennial and seasonal allergies, the effort comprises a series of rich media ads on highly trafficked weather and health Web sites.

An animated floating ad features the Rhinocort's rhinoceros and butterfly visual theme. Consumers click through to access a free nasal allergy kit with promotional offers.

"We found that rich media has worked for them in the past, with a double-digit lift in brand awareness," said Robin Neifield, CEO of NetPlus Marketing Inc., the Conshohocken, PA, interactive agency on the Rhinocort Aqua brand.

The effort uses an interactive questionnaire to screen prospective product users. Trial use is boosted through the offer of a downloadable $10 savings certificate for the initial prescription, an animated screensaver and a subscription to the Sneezin' Season Update e-mail newsletter.

"We used to mail out a hard-copy nasal allergy kit," Neifield said. "But we found that what people valued most was the information. We could deliver to them with more immediacy if we did it online."

The online ad shows a rhino and a butterfly on opposite ends of a seesaw. The headline reads, "Tough on nasal allergies. Gentle on the nose." Body copy touts the absence of fragrance and alcohol.

Placements include the home page of The Weather Channel's and rivals such as, Intellicast and Weatherbug, a desktop application for local weather.

AstraZeneca also runs co-branded pages and sponsored content.

Neifield said weather sites are natural tie-ins for pollen forecasting and counts, especially for people looking to understand their allergies.

Among health Web sites, media space was bought on Discovery Health, WebMD and MD Choice. The criterion was to associate Rhinocort with qualified, third-party medical content that consumers can trust.

The online push overcomes a major hurdle for AstraZeneca, she said, particularly "all those things that are sometimes difficult to measure in terms of consumer response for the pharmaceutical industry because the intent to buy, which would be a normal measure for a normal consumer product, is not the same in the pharmaceutical space. It's a multi-step buy. They have to go to their doctor, they have to get a prescription [and] they have to go to the pharmacy. It's a complicated and extended process."

More than a year old, Rhinocort Aqua is a water-based solution that is the next generation variant of the Rhinocort Nasal Inhaler. The category includes brands like Nasonex, Nasocort and Flonase, plus a bunch of over-the-counter remedies.

"We're competing against everything down to a tissue that helps relieve allergy symptoms," Neifield said.


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