Superbrands case studies: Anadin

Originally published in 'Consumer Superbrands Volume V', March 2003. The book reviews the UK's strongest consumer brands as judged by an independent judging panel.

Case study provided by Superbrands.


Todays busy lifestyles, coupled with an explosion in consumer information about health, are driving factors behind the rise in self-medication and the consequent growth of over the counter medicines. In the UK alone, the OTC sector is worth £1.75bn (Source: Mintel). A breakdown of the figures indicates that pain relief ranks highly in the nation's healthcare priorities. The total analgesics market was worth an estimated £377m in 2002 (Source: Mintel 2002), representing a 19% increase in real terms on sales in 1997.

Next to the cold, the headache is today's most frequent ailment. They may be minor ailments but they have one thing in common Pain. Analgesics remain the most effective remedy for pain relief. A range of analgesics is available OTC, differentiated not only by their active ingredients but by their formats.

Anadin is at the forefront in providing effective pain relief. Over the years the brand has taken advantage of industry innovation and incorporated other ingredients such as paracetamol and ibuprofen into its portfolio, enabling it to offer a range of targeted and effective solutions to combat pain.


Anadin is the most famous OTC brand in the UK with over 90% consumer awareness (Source: RSGB). It has mass market appeal with users of all ages from sixteen upwards. Changes in legislation in the 1990s enabled the brand to extend its product range while maintaining its position as a leading pain killer brand which delivered a range of long standing values to the consumer. Today Anadin is the second biggest selling branded analgesic in the UK and its product range is worth £45m.


Originally launched in the US as Anacin, the brand appeared in the UK in 1932 under the Anadin name. It is owned by Wyeth and has always communicated that its key task is to defeat pain quickly. Widely respected by health care professionals and consumers alike, Anadin has used several different slogans to press home its message over the years. These range from the famous Nothing Acts Faster than Anadin slogan, which was introduced in 1955, to the recent "Headache! What Headache?" and "When only fast will do".

Anadin has successfully steered its way through the growth of Own Label products during the 1990s -- which resulted in many consumers switching from branded goods to retailers own lines, including health care products -- by innovating and providing solutions relevant to its target market.


Anadin is one of the UK's oldest and best known oral analgesics and a firm family favourite. The original aspirin-based formula provides fast, effective relief for a wide range of everyday aches and pains including headaches, period and dental pains, as well as the symptoms of colds and flu. The range has evolved into a portfolio of six UK variants delivering pain relievers in a variety of formats comprising caplets, tablets, liquid capsules and soluble tablets. Anadin Extra, containing aspirin, paracetamol and caffeine was launched in 1983. Its counterpart, Anadin Extra Soluble, which was unveiled in 1992, is ideal for those finding tablets difficult to swallow. The formula is more readily absorbed into the bloodstream enabling it to act faster. In 1988, Wyeth launched Anadin Paracetamol, a formulation suitable for children from the age of six, which is designed to reduce temperature and is therefore especially beneficial in the treatment of feverish colds and flu. In 1997, Anadin Ibuprofen was introduced. Coated for easy swallowing, it is formulated to relieve rheumatic or muscular pain, backache and period pain whilst actively reducing inflammation.

Recent developments

The last three years have witnessed continuing innovation. As a result of the launch of Anadin Ultra in September 1999, sales grew at a double-digit rate. Anadin Ultra contains an ibuprofen solution in an easy to swallow, soft gelatine capsule allowing it to be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, combating pain more than twice as fast as tablets. In a move to benefit consumers and trade, the entire range received a new look in July 2002. Key features included a new embossed Anadin logo which reflects a more modern and dynamic image. In addition, Anadin Ultra and Extra packs were foiled to differentiate these variants as the most premium within the range. The effect of these changes has added branding consistency across the entire product range, ensuring stronger impact when the variants are grouped together. This improved on-shelf stand-out conveys to consumers that in an increasingly competitive market, Anadin offers a range of premium quality products.

For consumers, the new design aims to take the pain out of choosing a painkiller while communicating the modernity of the brand. Key indicators on the front of packs encourage analgesic users to identify the best product for their specific type of pain. Additionally, the use of consumer friendly language on the back of packs and on information leaflets further simplifies product selection and usage. Careline details are also included on packs, allowing consumers to receive further advice and guidance about the range.


Anadin's familiar logo is synonymous with its brief to tackle everyday aches and pains swiftly and effectively since its launch more than 70 years ago. It is important for the brand to be at the forefront of product development and to inform the public about the benefits these products can bring. Therefore, advertising is key to Anadin's promotional strategy. In September 2002 it launched a terrestrial and satellite television campaign for Anadin Ultra. The campaign avoided the scientific angle taken by some other brands and opted for a humorous, slice-of-life approach featuring the Twice as Fast strapline with the consumer message that Anadin Ultras liquid ibuprofen capsules could hit pain more than twice as fast as their tablet equivalent. The Bus Stop creative focuses on a typical British scene ‹ a bus queue. The woman at the front of the queue announces, "It's gone!" leaving everyone to assume she means the bus. Confused they leave. She is in fact showing her surprise at how rapidly her headache has cleared. Submarine features a crew of submariners tracking an enemy vessel. Suddenly the radar technician again says the line "Its gone!" leaving a bewildered captain. He is also referring to the swift departure of his headache.

The commercials formed part of a £6m television push which launched in December 2001 with Locker Room and Detective. Both were shot in black and white to reinforce Anadin Extra's position as a strong, efficacious painkiller. The creative executions clearly struck a chord with consumers, achieving 17th place in the Marketing NOP adwatch survey for best advertising recall and pole position for best OTC advertisement in the TNS Omnimas Survey in July 2002. Following the burst of advertising in June/July, RSGB studies revealed a 40% growth in consumers considering Anadin as a brand I might buy.

In addition to television, Anadin deploys a variety of promotional activities to maintain brand awareness. To underline Anadin Ultra's speed of delivery, it sponsored a car in the prestigious 2002 British Touring Car Championship. The event attracts 200,000 visitors during the season and receives extensive television coverage with average viewing figures of one million per programme. As a result, Anadin's prominently branded car benefited considerably and the driver of the Anadin Ultra Honda Accord secured third place overall in the product category. Further consumer support for the sponsorship included Anadin branded give-aways at each event and a series of competitions in consumer and retailer magazines offering the chance to win a VIP trip to the championships.

Public relations is another effective part of the brands communications mix. To coincide with the 2002 pack relaunch, Anadin ran a consumer PR campaign that highlighted how the affects of modern life are causing stress related pain and affecting daily life. Research commissioned by Anadin revealed that the strain of modern living is increasingly detrimental to the sex life of UK males. Three quarters of men in the UK felt life was more stressful than five years ago and 63% said that they were suffering from frequent headaches at bedtime as a direct result. Press coverage was considerable. The story ran with the brand mentioned in five national and 25 regional newspapers. The campaign was supported with nationwide radio interviews and an Anadin leaflet drop in five major cities which gave consumers the opportunity to win a spa weekend break.

As well as offering consumers in-store leaflets about pain relief, Anadin has a website, which offers product information and other details about combating pain.

Brand values

Anadin has a brand heritage which delivers substantial consumer confidence. The Anadin range is regarded as a trustworthy, reliable, safe, no-nonsense method of delivering pain-relief. Its ability to offer effective treatment for all types of pain is reinforced by its status as a big brand because it is one of the most famous OTC brands with over 90% consumer awareness (Source: RSGB). Each sub-brand has its own positioning. Anadin Original is a tried and trusted traditional family product, used to combat milder forms of pain. Anadin Extra, designed for people who haven't the time or inclination to let minor discomfort trouble them, has a dynamic profile delivering a speedy strong remedy for really severe pain such as migraine. Anadin Ultra offers a modern, premium fast acting form of relief and appeals to the consumer who is abreast of the latest developments and trends.

Things you didn't know

  • Anadin was formulated by a US dentist in 1918.

  • Nearly 400m Anadin tablets were sold in the last year. If laid side by side they would reach from London to New York.

  • The designer Anya Hindmarch created a range of fashion accessories using Anadin Extra branding.

    © 2003 Superbrands Ltd

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