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Best of NAMA 2020

How do you pump new life into an old, trusted product, raise awareness of your newest product and promote an entire product line? All with the same advertising campaign?

Look different, talk smart and resonate with your audience. That's what's working for Pfizer Animal Health, New York, with two spread-ad series for the company's line of small animal antibiotics.


With more products and market share than its competition, Pfizer dominates the veterinary antibiotic market. For 18 years, its flagship product - broad spectrum Clavamox® (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) - has been a favorite of small animal veterinarians for treating bacterial infections in cats and dogs.

Pfizer's second major antibiotic - Zeniquin® (marbofloxacin) - entered the market in 1999 as an antimicrobial for use in dogs and has shown steady sales growth. A member of the fluoroquinolone class of drugs, Zeniquin gained an additional clearance at the end of 2001 for use in cats - a significant plus and a point the company wanted to promote.

With competitors nipping at the heels of Clavamox sales, plus a desire to cut into the market share of Zeniquin's main competitor, the company wanted to make sure the products were positioned correctly in veterinarians' minds. And the company certainly wanted its veterinary customers to reach for these Pfizer antibiotics more often.

"We wanted to upgrade the images of these two products by focusing on what was really important to veterinarians," says David Cahill, Pfizer Animal Health U.S. director, companion animal anti-infectives. "We also wanted to gain a more contemporary look and standardize some of our branding elements."

Members of the Clavamox/Zeniquin team at Colle + McVoy, Minneapolis, include: (front l to r) Cindy Reiners, production; Nicole Engles, account executive; (back l to r) Linda Sidwell, traffic; John Jarvis, creative director; Janet McGrath, practice leader, account planning; and Ray Klempka, art director.
The assignment Pfizer presented to its agency was ambitious: leverage limited marketing funds to promote Clavamox and Zeniquin, the two largest brands within Pfizer's portfolio. "Secondarily," says Nicole Engles, Colle + McVoy account executive on the Pfizer Animal Health team, "Pfizer wanted to deliver a reminder that it has the most experience in veterinary and human antibiotics, and, with eight other antibiotics in its arsenal, Pfizer offers veterinarians the deepest line of products."

Both Clavamox and Zeniquin had a lot going for them from the get-go, she adds. "As a trusted, broad-spectrum antibiotic, Clavamox enjoys a wide range of uses in treating dental and other common infections. It's virtually free of side effects, has a wide margin of safety and it's easy to swallow." Palatability is an important consideration, Engles notes, especially when it comes time for dog and cat owners to "pill" their pets.

The signature color of blue for Clavamox and orange for Zeniquin are carried throughout all labels and marketing material.
As for Zeniquin, Engles says its new clearance for cats was an obvious bonus, especially since veterinarians report other fluoroquinolones cause ocular degeneration in cats. "But research shows Zeniquin's high safety profile makes it appropriate for cats. Still, we needed to get veterinarians to break their habit of reaching for Zeniquin's older main competitor whenever they wanted a 'big gun' antibiotic to treat a tough case."


Minneapolis-based Colle + McVoy's first step was to conduct in-depth interviews - face-to-face and via phone - with veterinary professionals across the country.

Engles says the agency wanted some key questions answered. "For instance, how much does it matter to veterinarians that Pfizer has a full line of antibiotics? Does it matter that Pfizer has built its reputation on antibiotics? Or does the long-standing trust veterinarians have in Clavamox translate to Zeniquin sales?

"We wanted to find out what veterinarians really look for when they choose an antibiotic," she says. "This research was used to build a hierarchy of factors that determine veterinarians' antibiotic selections."

With research in hand, the Colle + McVoy creative team, which includes John Jarvis, creative director; Ed Bennett, designer; and Ray Klempka, art director, went to work.

"On the Clavamox side, veterinarians said clients trust their expertise to make the right antibiotic decision," Jarvis says. "That's why they want to make sure the antibiotic they choose works - and works the first time. For Zeniquin, veterinarians said when they're faced with a hard-to-treat case, they need a fluoroquinolone that's tough. And when infections are life-threatening, they don't have time to worry about resistance, side effects or cost.

"These two insights were our best opportunities to connect," Jarvis says.

After defining the most likely connections with veterinarians, the agency's creative team crafted a single-minded selling proposition or benefit that would compel veterinarians to buy Clavamox and Zeniquin. For Clavamox, it was this: Your clients trust you and you can trust Clavamox because its broad-spectrum treatment gets results the first time. "Zeniquin's promise worked out to be a bit more cerebral," says Jarvis. For that more powerful drug, the brand promise is: Zeniquin's effectiveness makes you remember why you went into veterinary medicine - to cure patients and solve even the difficult cases.

The team also listed facts that would make veterinarians believe those compelling promises. Specifically, Clavamox:

  • has been proven and trusted in the veterinary arena for 20 years, and

  • offers safe, broad-spectrum effectivness and is the first choice for common infections.

And Zeniquin:

  • has been proven to be a superior fluoroquinolone through its excellent pharmacological data while remaining a safe antibiotic solution with no signs of resistance or ocular incidence, and

  • is easy to administer (once a day), and its cost is comparable to other drugs in its class.

Engles adds both "reason to believe" lists positioned the products in Pfizer's complete line of antibiotics and cited its leadership position in both human and veterinary medicine.


The resulting ads for Clavamox and Zeniquin are a dramatic departure from standard veterinary advertising fare, says Jarvis. "The look is clean, modern and bold. They just don't look like anything else you see in these books." This was especially true in DVM magazine, he adds, where the full, tabloid-size spread ads dominated.

Pfizer assigns distinct colors for each of its 10 antibiotics, adds Engles. "These colors - blue for Clavamox and light orange for Zeniquin - are carried through on product labels, packaging, sales materials and collateral. Because these brand identities are well-established, we incorporated those colors in the ad series."

Four-color and black-and-white photos were used to add a photojournalistic look to the animals. "Then," says Jarvis, "a separate plane of color was added to create an interesting three-dimensional effect."

The copy followed directly from what was learned from veterinary interviews, says Jarvis. Clavamox ads carried bullet points that reinforced the product's 20 years of well-earned trust; reliable, positive results; and broad-spectrum activity. Zeniquin's bullet points positioned the drug as "one tough fluoroquinolone, safe and effective for both cats and dogs with convenient, true once-a-day dosing."

And both ad series carry the tagline, "Results speak loudest of all." Jarvis explains, "This line was created to play off the heritage and trust of Clavamox and the amazing results veterinarians were experiencing with Zeniquin, as well as the long history of success Pfizer products enjoyed in the antibiotic marketplace."

While copy and taglines flow directly from the agency's initial veterinary interviews, it's in the headlines that their value really shines. "We used quotes from actual anecdotes the veterinarians shared with us," says Jarvis. "After all, what could resonate more with veterinarians than their own experiences and the emotions that result from helping clients' well-loved pets?"

Thus, the compelling headlines for Clavamox read:

  • No one ever sees all the science behind it. They just see the results.

  • I've got the most reliable infection-fighting weapon there is. Experience.

  • I see it all the time. A dog comes in with dental disease. The owner leaves with a smile.

Likewise, Zeniquin headlines reflect the professional pride in producing positive results for patients and clients:

  • One client called and said I'm now her cat's veterinarian for life.

  • One day I'm a veterinarian. Two days later I'm a miracle worker.

  • When a dog needs a turn for the better, I want to be the one responsible.

The award-winning series was a winner with veterinarians as well as NAMA judges. "Last year, Zeniquin showed significant sales growth and became the fastest-growing quinolone on the market," Pfizer's Cahill explains. And 18 years after it was launched, Clavamox had its most successful sales year ever. It is the leading branded anti-infective in the veterinary marketplace.

"The Clavamox and Zeniquin ads worked," Pfizer's Cahill concludes, "because they stood out, and what they said was important to their audience." AM

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