Bayer WeightSmart: It's Not What You Think
For adults while they work to control their weight Bayer Consumer Care, Morristown, NJ, recently released a new One-A-Dayź multivitamin. The new product, One-A-Day WeightSmart, debuted in November 2002 and was not positioned as a weight loss or diet product, according to the company, but rather as a product for people working to control their weight. This distinction was made very clear by Catherine Fish, associate director regulatory affairs, who said, "One-A-Day WeightSmart is a complete multivitamin that is specifically designed for people that are working to control their weight. It is not a diet product or a weight loss product." She explained further, "As people hit their 30's metabolism begins to slow down about 1-2% per decade, which can amount to one to two pounds per year. This can result even with everything staying equal, meaning that food intake and exercise patterns remain the same. WeightSmart is perfect for these individuals who are working to control their weight through diet and exercise."
Promotion for the product began ramping up in January this year with T.V. and print advertising as well as in-store displays. To put it simply, the company put a lot of promotional weight behind the product-no pun intended. In terms of just how much money was spent to support WeightSmart was something that Ms. Fish said Bayer does not comment on. She said only that the company is supporting the product the way that it supports that rest of its One-A-Day line. And how is the product doing so far in terms of sales? Again, Ms. Fish said that product sales was another bit of information that Bayer as a company does not divulge. What she could say was that Bayer is receiving very positive responses from its retail partners and its customers.
In terms of distribution, WeightSmart is shelved next to the other One-A-Day products offered by Bayer. Ms. Fish said this falls in line with Bayer's marketing strategy. "The main channels of distribution are the food, drug and mass market because all of the One-A-Day products are positioned there. The product is still a multivitamin but it is specially designed for a different segment of the population," she said. "The One-A-Day brand strategy is all about customizing formulas for specific groups of people. For example, last summer we launched One-A-Day Men's Health, which was specifically for men. The whole strategy is about finding a target population and meeting their needs for a particular health benefit. One-A-Day WeightSmart fits very nicely into this strategy."
An interesting aspect of the WeightSmart product is the inclusion of 27 mg of EGCG from green tea. According to the company, studies suggest that the EGCG component of green tea increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation, which are important factors in healthy metabolism function. The EGCG is present to help enhance metabolism levels, rather than to act as a weight loss aid that dramatically increases metabolism. EGCG is not a stimulant. According to Ms. Fish, Bayer included all of the ingredients it did based on the published literature. "We based the inclusion of all of our ingredients on the published literature and what people are getting in their diet," she said. "For EGCG in particular, Bayer selected the ingredient and dosage level based on the published literature and the data that show that EGCG has an effect on metabolism and what consumers are already taking in. In other words, tea is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, so we took that into account when coming up with a dosage level."
On the packaging there are several things to point out. "We are making some claims on the packaging related to the product being specially formulated to help you while you control your weight. We also point out the fact that there is EGCG in the product to help enhance metabolism," Ms. Fish said. "Additionally, we make a 'converts food to fuel' claim due to the B vitamins and chromium. We also talk about heart health with vitamins C, E, B6 and B12 and cell protection with antioxidants selenium and vitamins C and E. Lastly, we point out immune health with vitamins A, C and E and zinc and iron."
In the end, Ms. Fish said she is really excited about this product but stressed the importance of the product's placement in the market. "I want to make sure that the positioning of the product gets communicated properly to consumers. We think WeightSmart offers a great opportunity to those who have taken on a healthy lifestyle and are working to control their weight. We also see WeightSmart being the first product offered for this group of people."- R.M.W