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This case study reviews the public relations strategy and tactics utilized by AstraZeneca for Nexium, its product for acid reflux disease. Nexium, a Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) treatment, employed integrated PR and marketing communication strategies to launch Nexium as the successor to Prilosec, AstraZeneca’s first GI Blockbuster. After establishing Nexium as the new purple pill, AZ public relations campaigns used Internet-based tools such as alerts and resource support strategies to seed and grow patient relationships during the product's growth years. Other Web-based PR campaigns used education tools such as polls and diet tips to engage patients. The company also used Podcast technologies and a celebrity spokesman to spread the word about Nexium. AZ marketing and PR savvy offer a case example of effective product generation succession marketing - Nexium hit blockbuster status in its second year on the market.
• Employ product transition strategies to bridge from first generation to second generation.
• Employ relationship strategies to create loyal customers throughout the product lifecycle.
• Employ referral strategies among families and users.
• Employ podcast and other new technologies to extend education to patient populations.
• Create tools to help patients self-diagnose and have effective meetings with their physicians.
SAMPLE LESSONS LEARNED
• Building Bridges: Integrated PR and communication strategies helped AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly build sturdy bridges from Prilosec to Nexium and from Prozac to Cymbalta. This “bridge building” requires good planning and ideally should commence at the back end of the first generation’s product lifecycle.
• Timing of the Bridge Building: Field findings revealed that on average successor products should commence PR two years prior to the new product’s global launch. Some recommended three years lead time. Nexium succeeds Prilosec as a leading blockbuster for treatment of GERD
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