Learn how Gaviscon makes use of restrictions to thrive creatively - With the UK Marketing Director at RB | #BehindTheBrand

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The easiest way to impress the Gaviscon brand? Show that you can 'get' them and what they do. For years positioned as leaders in the UK health sector, Gaviscon still has plenty of opportunities to pursue more growth and it won't be afraid of doing so creatively, according to UK Marketing Director Charlotte Schloesing.

Charlotte describes the Gaviscon brand as an everyday hero, all about uplifting people's lives and improving their days. A forward-thinking brand, Gaviscon thrives in the higher restrictions of the health sector, which help the marketing team think more creatively; it is also a brand which is unafraid of innovations, always looking for partners which will understand the current scene and the ever-evolving customer needs. If you are an agency looking to get in Gaviscon's little black book, show passion and understanding. That can get you farther than any other convoluted strategy you may have in mind.

Today we are getting Behind the Brand to learn more about Gaviscon and RB with Charlotte Schloesing, UK Marketing Director at RB.


What is it like to work for Gaviscon and Reckitt?

It is extremely gratifying to work for a company whose purpose is to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner and healthier world. I have spent most of my career in the Health division of our business and I take great pride in knowing that everything I do contributes to promoting good health and giving people a better life. 

Often, people think that working in marketing for an over-the-counter medicine brand is slow and has lots of regulatory challenges. But I think that the fact that indeed the pace of innovation is slower and restrictions are higher makes you challenge yourself harder to come up with creative ways to drive your business, and ultimately help relieve millions of people from everyday ailments that get in the way of living their lives.

What are the unique aspects of the Gaviscon brand?

Every marketer wants to think its brand is unlike any other, but let’s face it, it is probably not the case. The reality is, there are very few truly unique products in the market. So what makes the difference between success and failure is cut-through, stand-out, distinctiveness – being the brand people think of first and the one they notice at point of sale. Gaviscon is a great example of getting the basics right – and let me tell you, it isn’t as easy as it sounds: it takes discipline, rigour and a laser-focus on what really matters. For one, the brand has been incredibly consistent over the years in the use of our distinctive brand assets: the flame in the chest, the fireman, the brand colours – executed in comms, on pack, on point of sales.

Can you describe your brand’s personality in one sentence?

Gaviscon is all about uplifting people’s lives, we open up possibilities, reassuring sufferers that they don’t have to miss out on the moments that matter, by shutting down Heartburn and Indigestion.

Gaviscon is the Everyday Hero - not a fancy, over-the-top magical one, or an over-decorated superhero from the pages of a comic book, but the kind that’ll actually just be there, a dependable, relatable ally who’s devoted to helping you and never letting you down.


What makes your brand successful?

It all starts with a great product: Gaviscon does what it says on the tin! Some people say it’s a Godsend. If you’ve ever suffered from heartburn or indigestion, you’ll know what I mean: it’s a really unpleasant and debilitating condition and Gaviscon takes care of it fast, reliably, durably. It really does help free people to live their lives without hesitation.

And then, there’s the marketing magic: being famous, being thought of at the moment of truth, standing-out at point of purchase… What Byron Sharp refers to as mental and physical availability: what makes people pick your brand over others. 

Heartburn & Indigestion is a very confusing condition for people with a high impact on quality of life. Many don’t realize they have a problem; some prefer to ignore it, others treat it sub optimally. Creativity has played a huge role for the brand in drawing attention to the category and our products, making people understand their condition and get them to treat it appropriately. 

What opportunities exist for your brand in the near future?

There is so much growth opportunity for a brand like Gaviscon. 

First, there’s headroom for growth in the category: we’re the market leader in the UK, but we’re far from having maxed out on share gains in the current market. Unlocking this really boils down to the mental and physical availability we talked about before. It’s about outstanding creativity, distinctiveness and best in class presence at point of purchase.

Second, we know that the category has lots of growth potential and as market leader, it’s Gaviscon’s role to lead the way – to grow the size of the pie if you like. Lots of people needlessly suffer heartburn without realising how easy it is to get rid of it. This is about helping people realise when they’re suffering from heartburn and reminding them how easy it is to get rid of it – provided you remember Gaviscon!


How important is creativity to your brand’s success?

Immense – I think we all recognize now just how big of a role creativity plays in driving effectiveness. There’s a growing realisation that first and foremost, all brands compete for attention. Traditionally, advertising has focused on message comprehension and persuasion – but the truth is that if we don’t get people’s attention first, none of this matters. And when you are a medicine brand talking about a problem people are trying to ignore, cutting through is even harder. 

So this is one of the areas we are focusing more and more on: we need creativity to disrupt, to catch people’s attention and make them care – and thankfully our comms campaigns have consistently managed to cut through and engage the audience, and as such, deliver results!

Our agency partners have worked hard in evolving our award-winning ‘TWINS’ campaign over the years, coming up with new creative vehicles to land the insight and the way our product works, while ensuring consistency on how the brand is portrayed. They’ve also done wonders for the launch of Guardium a few years ago, a sister brand of Gaviscon. The campaign behind it captures everything that makes for great effective creatives: attention grabbing (how surprising to see a knight on a horse advertising a medicine?), strong branding with the creation of powerful distinctive assets (again the knight!), and building connections with the right associations that will make the brand salient.

Do you work with an in-house creative team, an agency or both?

We work with both – and I would almost add that everyone in Reckitt that works on Gaviscon has contributed to creative development at some point. It is unbelievable how much passion there is for Gaviscon brand building within the organization, and how we all thrive towards making our campaigns stronger year on year! It really is a collective effort.


What do you look for in a creative agency?

3 things really.

  1. Deep consumer understanding. After all, at its core marketing is about influencing consumer behaviour, so we need our agency partners to have a good grasp of consumer psychology. Over the last decade, brain and behavioural science has transformed our understanding of how people interact with brands and that needs to be reflected in our work.
  2. Shared passion for our brands and commitment to do better work. It is hard to be a brand guardian, especially when the brand means so much for so many people, and the best creative agencies are those who share this guardianship with us but have the courage challenge us to push our own boundaries without crossing the lines we are not ready to cross. 
  3. Flawless integration of creative and media. We don’t live in a TV-centric world any longer, and the most successful agencies are the ones that are able to demonstrate the understanding of the consumer journey and all the touchpoints we need to activate to hit them at the right place and time, in the right way.

But most importantly, fun! Let’s be honest, working on comms campaigns is by far the most exciting part of the marketing job, so we need partners in agencies that can live up to the expectation and make the whole creative process as inspiring, engaging and entertaining as possible.

What tips would you give to an agency looking to land you as a client?

Don’t show me your work – show me mine through your lens. If I can tell that you are getting it, why we do what we do, then we can have a conversation on what you would change to make it even better.

Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp is obviously a must. If people want to understand how consumers think and behave, Thinking Fast and Slow is a tough read, but well worth it to get a good understanding of System 1 and System 2.

Traditionally, marketing has focused so much on System 2 thinking, believing that consumers care deeply about our brands, that if we can just demonstrate through compelling reasons to believe why we’re superior, they’ll decide to ‘switch brands’. When actually, most of our decisions are the fruit of split-second decisions. We don’t want to spend the time and energy making difficult System 2 decisions and instead will revert to what’s easiest: System 1.

The reason we’re loyal to brands is often not deep commitment, but just that we’re creatures of habit and that choosing a familiar brand is simply a way to make our lives easier. This has big implications on marketing, especially when it comes to comms. It’s a real wake-up call.


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