Marketing To Latinos: A Guide to the In-Culture Approach Part 2
Part 2 Case Studies | Part 1 Case Studies
  CASE STUDY: Alka Seltzer®
Bayer Consumer Care

    NOTE: no advertising media is available for this case study. Please contact the agency directly if you would like additional information.

Market Situation

Because of its strong presence in Latin America, Alka-Seltzer had enjoyed the preference of U.S. Hispanics for many years as the #1 brand in the stomach aids and remedies category. Continued media support in Spanish with original creative had positioned Alka-Seltzer as the do-it-all, fun medicine for a host of gastrointestinal problems.

However, in 1992 Spanish language advertising was discontinued for several years. Alka-Seltzer's absence from the Hispanic market allowed Pepto-Bismol (the main competitor in the category) to usurp Alka-Seltzer 's leadership position. Additionally, H2 Blockers were migrating from perscription to over-the-counter availability and were rapidly gaining market share.


In 1996, Bayer Consumer Care, owner of Alka-Seltzer decided to re-enter the Hispanic market and regain lost market share.

Research: Qualitative

Aragón Advertising was commissioned to study the market situation and make recommendations. As a first step, the agency created adaptations in Spanish of General Market creative and tested them in focus groups to gain an understanding of how the market had evolved in four years.

Based on consumer findings, ARAGÓN developed a strategy with Hispanic nuances, while maintaining consistency with the new general market positioning of Alka-Seltzer as strong, serious medicine.

Research: Quantitative

To further capture the mind of the consumer a Pre/Post Attitude and Usage study was conducted.


Based on the learning, a multi-layered, integrated marketing effort with original creative was designed and implemented. The campaign included broadcast, printed media and strong promotional support.


The agency developed campaign consistent with "strong medicine" strategy, but in keeping with Hispanic learning. Two TV ads: "Husband Knows Best" and "Older and Wiser" featured Hispanics recommending Alka-Seltzer to one another for severe heartburn with pain, while recognizing the benefits that Alka-Seltzer offers for the relief of general stomach discomfort and indigestion, the historical pre-campaign brand positioning. The ads featured an interesting black and white flashback technique, which has become a visual Alka-Seltzer signature. The use of culturally competent situations and music assured the success of the TV campaign.


Aragón also developed a series of taggable image Radio spots to feature market specific event information, in coordination with the Promotions department at Bayer Consumer Care. The radio campaign provided added value to the effort by linking together sampling, sweepstakes and product promotion at remotes and community events.


Additional support was provided through the development of generic header cards with product info and sweepstakes headers with sweepstakes entries.

Tactics: Promotions

Recognizing the subtleties of each specific market, Aragón developed plans, focused on local consumer events, a Car Give-Away Sweepstakes and strong tie-in with regional sales manager to improve trade relations, including a sales kit for regional sales force.


Over 200,000 samples were distributed intending to propel Alka-Seltzer trial.

In the period studied, unaided awareness grew 76%. Sales grew anywhere from 5.8% to 12.6% depending on the specific markets. The category environment is noteworthy: in a segment of the pharmaceutical industry that is stagnant and even declining, Alka-Seltzer was among the few to show positive increases.

With continued media presence in the Hispanic market, refinements on the strategic planning and the launching of a line extension, (Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief), the brand as a whole reached the #1 position in sales for the first time since its Hispanic market relaunch.

Agency: Aragón Advertising