Sometimes, product naming gives me a headache.
Take, for example, the news that Bayer Aspirin is giving us a faster-acting aspirin in hopes of taking back lost sales in the over-the-counter pain-reliever sector, and attracting younger buyers.
The Washington Post solemnly informs us that "expanding the demographic of users is key to budging Bayer's 14.6 percent market share" and consumers' number one complaint is that the stuff just does not work fast enough.
How fast is fast? Well, the average dose of regular Bayer Aspirin starts working in 100 minutes and the new formulation, called Bayer Advanced Aspirin, starts working in just 16 minutes.
Never mind that the real culprit as far as lagging sales are concerned, seems to be the rise in generics (Aspirin is a double generic: you can sell it under any name, as it has become genericized).
A glance at the box of Bayer Advanced Aspirin has me scratching my head. Where, may I ask, do we learn about the astounding fast acting qualities of this new product?
It is called "Advanced," and we are then told it is "Extra Strength" and that it has "Pro-Release Technology" behind it.
Now, doesn't "Pro-Release" sound alot like "Slow-Release?" Like you see on some allergy medications? And don't we know that this would completely defeat the purpose of the new product?
Yes, it does say "Fast, Safe Pain Relief" but really, shouldn't we add that this new formulation works up to five times faster?
Faster is the magic word here, not fast!
Aspirin in any form is the mildest over-the-counter pain reliever you can buy. Aleve or Motrin 800 are far more powerful. Consumers know this. Aspirin is seen as an old-school pain reliever. This is why consumers seem to be taking it more to prevent stroke and heart attacks than to kill headaches.
A recent Bayer campaign even suggested that some of the great minds of history would not have been as effective without Aspirin, a campaign that only underlines the fact that aspirin is pretty retro pain relief.
Some bloggers feel that the Bayer brand is too diluted, and is not tightly associated with pain relief.
I disagree. Bayer Aspirin is the gold standard of aspirin brands. And studies have shown that while consumers may happily buy generics to save money, they believe that the branded remedy is more effective.
Bayer's major means of revamping the brand and the product materialized when it became clear that it could start working in sixteen minutes.
Why are they not banging that drum harder? Why call it "Advanced" when you could call it "Faster?" (Regulatory reasons, I guess).