Seflex Case Study

Purpose: Statement of the problem

The purpose of this correspondence is to analyze the newadvertisement strategy for Bryant Pharmaceutical’s Seflex drug thatpromotes its growth and competitiveness in the arthritic drug market.


Seflex is an arthritis medicine produced by Bryant pharmaceuticals(Peebles, 2003). Bryant pharmaceuticals are a family owned companywith Joe Bryant’s family owning 5% stake in the company. Seflex isa Bryant pharmaceuticals flagship product popular with geriatricpatients suffering from arthritis. Seflex sales had been on the peakbut the growth had started to level off and therefore, the marketingdepartment had the task of formulating a new advertisement strategyto redeem the growth trend of the popular arthritic drug.

One important concern that the marketing department had, headed byIsabel Hines and Laura Goldenberg as her deputy, was the approachingpatent expiry for Seflex that would see many generic drugs floodingthe market (Peebles, 2003). This would particularly hurt the salesand prominence of Seflex as a key arthritic drug in the market sinceit would be overshadowed by the other drugs.

Another major concern was the cold relationship the key shareholder,Joe Bryant had on the management. As a key decision maker, Bryant wasnot amused by the many promotional programs the new CEO, HenryWinters, was advocating (Peebles, 2003). He thought they were “offbrand”. This trickled down to the marketing department making themlook bad as big spenders of company fortune on unnecessary projects.The department had to come up with a new strategy that was creativeand appealing to the people and that would redeem them from thenegative connotation they had acquired from the company owners. Theyneeded to change the older strategy of regular TV commercials anddirect mail modes of marketing Seflex.

The company’s advertising agency, PJE Communications, had laid downa number of options for the new advertisement strategy (Peebles,2003).They recommended using a celebrity actress, Jeanne Alyson, a1940s movie icon. Alyson would not only make a good appeal to thepeople as a public figure but also she would put a believable claimon advantages of Seflex having used it regularly for her arthritis.The two options were to either put her on an interview-stylecommercial where she talks of her experience with Seflex or put heron a prime time TV news show where she is interviewed in a segmentfeaturing arthritis.

Discussionof Alternatives

The initial advertisement strategies were ineffective and needed tobe changed. Better management and advertisement strategies needed tobe adopted which included coming up with great and creativestrategies to market Seflex. The marketing department would need tohave a number of alternatives to promote the drug.

The first alternative that could promote the sales would be productplacement by use of prominent public figures. The choice of aprominent actress who was known by many people like Jeanne Alysonwould be an excellent idea. Jeanne Alyson had arthritis too and wasusing Seflex regularly (Peebles, 2003). This would give any story shetells great credibility and many people suffering from arthritiswould opt to try the drug too.

One way of using the celebrity personality would be in aninterview-style commercial. Actress like Jeanne Alyson can bevideo-taped telling on her experiences with the Seflex drug (Peebles,2003). The option would be expensive and not a new trick inadvertisement but it would give the drug much credibility since aknown user was talking about it in a personal way. The video advertwould also attract more audience. The main disadvantage, however,would be the tendency of people to skip ads they don’t want towatch, an option provided for in the Tivo and Replay TV (Peebles,2003). This would decrease the desired audience tremendously.

Another option would be to put Jeanne Alyson in a TV show where sheis interviewed in a section featuring arthritis. This option is muchsuperior to the interview-style commercial because it would bring outpure content regarding the drug (Peebles, 2003).The TV show would bea good way to market Seflex since many people wouldn’t need to skipany ads. They would instead sit back and watch the show without thebaggage of advertisements popping up. The show would also promote andgive the drug credibility since the celebrity was a frequent user ofthe drug.

The main shortcomings that could arise are expensive nature of theadvertisement lack of control of what Alyson would say likelihoodof the celebrity deviating from the core purpose of the marketing thedrug and failure to know the answers to some of the questions shewould be asked(Peebles, 2003). This would create bad publicity to thecompany and the Seflex drug. The remedy to this would be priorcoaching to enlighten her about the things she was expected to say inthe interview. Writing a contract that would exonerate the companyfrom any Alyson’s damaging statements would be another good remedy.

Another alternative would be product placement through movies andother popular shows. For instance, Alyson a well-known actress can befeatured in a popular medical show/movie like ER, where she is seentaking Seflex for her arthritis. She can then be used in a commercialtalking about Seflex. People would thus recognize her and attributeor connect her to the TV show/movie. Such a stunt would be expensivebut it would increase her visibility and credibility.


  • Create product placement campaign by use of prominent public figure like Jeanne Alyson. The choice of such a prominent actress who is popular and well known to many people will promote use and sales of Seflex. Jeanne Alyson’s prior experience with Seflex for her arthritis will make her story more credible and many people suffering from arthritis would opt to try the drug too.

  • Allocate more funds into product placement advertisement to reach more audience.

  • Carry out damage control strategies through prior caching of the celebrity actress and formulation of a contract that can easily exonerate the company from damaging statements made by the actress.

Action Plan/Next Steps

Begin the product placement TV show featuring Jeanne Alyson as abrand ambassador who has prior experience with arthritic drug,Seflex.

Carry out prior coaching to familiarize the actress on the requiredstatements and answers she should make.

Mobilize enough advertisement funds. Advertisement is a veryexpensive process and the company should increase its pool of fundsto meet the required costs. Increasing the funds pool to a millionplus US dollars will be adequate for advertisement.

Contingency Plan

The contingency plan for Bryant pharmaceuticals in case the new planfails, is to embark on the original advertisements through directmail and TV commercials. These strategies are cheaper and provide asure audience. Although the TV ads can be skipped by many TV users,at least the message about the drug will be passed to the few peoplewho watch the commercials. Another contingency plan will be using theprint media to advertise the drug.


Peebles. M. E. (2003). And Now, a Word from Our Sponsor- HBR CaseStudy. Harvard Business Review