It’s not just the kids who will be praying for a white Christmas this year. So will anyone who makes a crust from cold & flu remedies.

The sector has suffered a 6.9% decline on volumes down 9.9%, due primarily to an unseasonably warm winter last year. According to Nielsen, the last ‘cold season’ saw the lowest number of shoppers in the category for five years, with all of the top three brands suffering significant declines.

OTC tpt

The only bright spot was RB’s Nurofen Cold & Flu, launched in 2013 with a £3m ad push and up 165.3% to £5m in the past year. RB has also put its weight behind Nurofen in adult oral analgesics, investing £5m in marketing Nurofen Express. In this case, the push doesn’t seem to have paid off quite yet: Nurofen is down 1.8% on volumes down 4.6%

Own label can be blamed for much of brands’ pain in adult oral analgesics. Own label also outgrew brands in allergy remedies, which in contrast to cold & flu benefited to an extent from last year’s weather (pollen hit high levels during the summer).

GSK is looking to turn around its allergy brands by working with retailers. “There’s an opportunity for retailers and pharmacies to educate customers about being more pro-active in managing allergy treatment,” says category controller Sean Barry.

Lemsip cough max


Top launch: Lemsip Cough Max RB

Lemsip is looking a little under the weather at present, but brand owner RB certainly cannot be blamed for neglecting its brand. September saw the launch of Lemsip Cough Max for Chesty Cough & Cold and Lemsip Mucus Cough Sugar & Colour Free in a bid to bring new consumers, such as diabetics who cannot use regular syrups because of the sugar they contain, to the category. All they need now is the ‘weather bomb’ the Met Office has been warning us about….