Skip to main content

Vitamin marketers may need to supplement ad buys

Vitamin usage is at an all-time high in the United States. Three-quarters of U.S. adults report regularly taking dietary supplements, according to research from CRN and Ipsos.  Health-conscious consumers spent $30 billion on vitamins and supplements last year alone. And lest you think that the lion’s share of the vitamin marketplace’s vigor is coming from older Americans, 74% of 18-34 year-olds are taking dietary supplements.

Men and women differ slightly in their reasons behind taking vitamins. While concerns about “overall wellness” is the top reason to take a dietary supplement among both genders, there is a divide when you dig deeper. For women, “fill nutritional gaps” is the next most popular reason, followed by “bone health.” For men, “energy” is a strong second, with “heart health,” “immune health,” and “filling nutritional gaps” equally of interest, tied in third place.

These are great insights, all of which could drive vitamin marketing plans. But, looking closely at Alphonso data on June 2018 TV spending, these findings aren’t necessarily influencing television ad buys.

Pfizer laid claim to the top commercial in June, spending $2 million during the month to tout its Centrum vitamins on a broad range of networks, including Travel Channel, USA Network, A&E, and Hallmark Channel. The majority of airings were seen on “Dateline,” “Family Feud,” and “Law & Order: SVU,” reaching a wide swath of consumers through its television buy.

Despite Pfizer claiming the top spot, vitamin maker Schiff surpassed that buy significantly, with four commercials promoting their MegaRed and Digestive Aid brands—at a total spend of nearly $3.4 million.

The three ads for MegaRed are variations of the same creative — a lithe female dancer sharing the multivitamin’s benefits. Buys against the ad are squarely focused on reaching women, skewing to the older set. The three ads aired on reruns of “The New Adventures of the Old Christine,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Matlock,” and “Mom” on networks such as TV Land and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. There were also airings on Nick Jr. to reaching stay-at-home moms.

The two Schiff Digestive Aid commercials took a similar tact to target women, with the addition of “Golden Girls” reruns in the mix. Interestingly though, one of the two ads centers on a man “staying strong” to lead a boy scouts camping expedition. Clearly, the assumption is that women primarily buy dietary supplements for everyone in the household — grown men included.

Needless to say, perhaps it is time for vitamin-makers to give their TV plans a healthy boost by applying some of the learnings from CRN and Ipsos — not to mention Alphonso.

TS Kelly of AlphonsoTS Kelly is senior vice president of research for Alphonso, a TV data company that provides real-time TV campaign analytics, one-to-one TV ad retargeting, and closed-loop attribution for brands and agencies. In his role at Alphonso, Kelly deep dives into television data and insights, giving clients guidance on how to optimize their TV spend.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds