Rogaine was the #1 brand in the company’s Consumer Healthcare portfolio.  As such, it had heavy expectations to deliver sales and EBITDA objectives.  The company was counting on our successfully addressing any consumer barriers that might negatively impact sales, and delivering on our numbers in order to allow the company to try and grow other brands in the portfolio.


Starter Kits Drive Results

Men were intrigued by the Rogaine proposition and were trying out the brand, but repeat volume trends showed we were not hanging on to them. For many, they felt that it simply wasn’t working for them. At this point, the product was widely available in a 1-month supply.


Analysis of A&U studies showed that a large percentage of men stopped using Rogaine after just one month – even though it typically took at least 3 months (with Regular Strength Rogaine) for results to be seen. Further research also showed that many men were using the product incorrectly – they were applying it to their hair rather than to their scalp and only using it once a day.


We created the Rogaine Extra Strength Starter Kit. As results were seen as soon as 2 months with Extra Strength, the Starter Kit featured a 2-month supply of Rogaine so men could start to see results BEFORE they had to purchase another bottle. It also featured a 15-minute video hosted by Super Bowl winning coach Mike Holmgren of the Green Bay Packers. In this video, Mike coached men on the keys to success – using it twice a day, everyday and making sure Rogaine was applied to the scalp. To encourage men to watch, we also included a sweepstakes for autographed footballs from Coach Holmgren.

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Removing Barriers To Trial

The media had hyped the FDA approval of Rogaine (the first FDA approved drug to re-grow hair) as a virtual panacea for hair loss. While the 2% Minoxidil product worked, it wasn’t the cure-all that the media set it up to be. Consequently, many men were disappointed with their results. Several years after the initial launch of Rogaine and media hype, we were preparing to introduce an Extra Strength version (5% minoxidil) into the market.


Focus groups and tracking studies showed that most men felt that Rogaine only worked for the lucky few; only about 20% of individuals. They also didn’t understand that one successful outcome of using Rogaine could be the arresting of further hair loss. Finally, research showed that given the low perceived odds of “winning,” and the nearly $30/bottle cost of the product, men simply weren’t willing to give it a chance.


We took the risk out of trying Rogaine by introducing the Rogaine Extra Strength Guarantee. All of our marketing efforts let men know that trying this superior form of Rogaine was a risk-free proposition. To further entice them to try our new product, advertising, POP materials, and PR emphasized that the product worked for 4 out of 5 men. We further managed expectations by letting them know that working meant that it either regrew hair or stopped further hair loss.


Athletes Praise Rogaine

Men were afraid to admit that they used Rogaine. Related to the previous situation, most also didn’t believe they knew anyone that it “worked” for. As men generally wouldn’t talk about it, and they didn’t know anyone who had been successful using it, they were thus reluctant to try the brand. Men were also skeptical of any results that were published by the brand – they were likely to question the accuracy of the photos, and such; after all, Rogaine was trying to get their money.


Qualitative research showed that men wanted to believe that Rogaine worked, but they wanted to see it with their own eyes, at which point, they would try it. As it was unlikely that their friends would tell them about their usage, we determined that a substitute could be a sports celebrity. These were “macho” guys whose results could not be altered by Photoshop, as you could see them yourself on the sidelines or in the game.


We met with prominent athletes and coaches and got them to use Rogaine Extra Strength. As they had success with the product, they were rolled into our PR, advertising. and POP. The campaign included Karl Malone (2-time MVP of the NBA with the Utah Jazz), Coach Mike Holmgren (Green Bay Packers), Jim Kelly (Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Buffalo Bills), and John McEnroe (tennis legend). These athletes and coaches became walking testimonials to the efficacy of Rogaine. Karl Malone was even interviewed a couple of times before games about his use of Rogaine.

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