Wry Campaign Intros World's First Oral Drug Test

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When consumers get a custom-delivered package in the mail the size of a tissue box, the last thing they expect to find inside is a urine specimen cup filled with gummy fish candy and a brochure touting 100 new ways to put the embarrassing age-old receptacle to good use.


But that's what the marketing creatives at Holton, Namiotka, Jones, Lafayette Hill, PA, have recommended to introduce Intercept, the first commercially available oral fluid drug-testing kit now available as part of a joint marketing effort by STC Technologies Inc., Bethlehem, PA; LabOne Inc., Lenexa, KS; and Epitome Inc., Lancaster, PA.


Jack Holton, president of HNJ, said the entire assignment was very much a joint development effort.


"We pretty much went through the normal agency steps to arrive at the concept," said Holton. "But we closely involved the client along the way. And we all asked ourselves what we could do in a campaign that would be arresting, but more importantly, effective in communicating the product."


Holton said the premise behind the campaign is the idea that STC's new oral swab testing kit has the potential to make urine testing obsolete.


"So it was from that perspective we asked ourselves what we could do to communicate that idea. The point of the campaign is that you are going to be able to throw away the old way of testing - including the specimen cup - unless you find a new way to use it."


Each direct mail package consists of a 6-inch-wide blue box that contains a urine specimen cup filled with edible colored gummy fish. Also included is a brochure detailing 100 humorous ways to use the now-obsolete cup along with a BRE postcard offering $500 to the consumer who comes up with humorous use No. 101. HNJ would not disclose costs of the package.


The direct mail campaign, targeting about 6,000 "highly pre-qualified" healthcare professionals in the United States, is supported by print advertising in leading medical industry trade publications. The headline in the print advertisements uses the same humor by purposefully omitting certain predictable letters - an intended pun illustrating the concept that urine testing is no longer required.


At STC, executive vice president Bill Hinchey said the new service can "reliably detect drug use, create significant efficiencies in the collection process and speed up turnaround time on results."


Michael A. Peat, president of LabOne's substance abuse testing division, said, "The greatest potential in the drug testing market is finding better and more efficient means for sample collection."


To collect a sample, a test administrator asks the test subject to place a treated collection pad between the lower cheek and gum for at least two minutes. Once the collection pad is saturated, it is placed in a vial containing a preservative to protect the sample. Negative results can be made available within 24 hours. Positive confirmations for illegal use of THC, cocaine, opiate, amphetamines and PCP require 72 hours.


Under the terms of the collaborative agreement, STC, LabOne and Epitome will all play pivotal roles in the marketing of the new lab service. STC, a company with a history in developing oral fluid immunoassay technology, will provide reagents as well as marketing support. Epitome produces the Intercept collection device and will provide sales support for the criminal justice and public health markets. Laboratory testing, results reporting, workplace sales and account management are being handled by LabOne.


The developers said drug testing is now used by 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies and an estimated 40 million tests are conducted annually.

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