Otrivin is a prescription medicine for blocked noses, which had previously been promoted only to doctors and pharmacists who could then recommend it to their patients. Recently, GlaxoSmithKline developed a new strategy that centered on promoting Otrivin directly to consumers in MENA. In launching the product to the wider public, GlaxoSmithKline, together with their media agency Mediacom, decided to create a YouTube-only campaign.

The primary goal of the activity was to build brand equity and maximize reach within the given budget. Specifically, GlaxoSmithKline aimed to achieve 60% reach among males and females ages 20 to 45 in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The campaign incorporated three YouTube formats: mastheads (24-hour takeovers of the YouTube homepage), TrueView ads (pre-roll ads that viewers can choose to skip after watching five seconds) and non-skippable in-stream ads. With a focus on reach targets, GlaxoSmithKline employed a reach maximization methodology with negative remarketing on the unique reached cookies at each step.

The approach paid off, with the campaign overachieving its reach targets in all three countries. In KSA, 67% of the target audience was reached, while in both UAE and Kuwait the figure came to 62%. To achieve these reach results using TV advertising would have required twice as much investment by GlaxoSmithKline.

You’ve got to reach consumers, and what’s the best way to reach them? Mobile and digital. You can’t run from it. It’s happening much faster than we think.

Fayez Awadeh, Otrivin Brand Activation Manager for the Gulf and Near East

These statistics tell only part of the story, though – in terms of market share and actual sales, the YouTube-only campaign produced dramatic results. “We listen to pharmacist feedback, do evaluations on the ground and have qualitative data,” explains Fayez Awadeh, Otrivin Brand Activation Manager for the Gulf and Near East. Sales reports show that during the time the campaign was running, consumers reacted by making purchases. “Although I was skeptical about going digital-only, it really worked; I did notice market share rise.”

This was true across several countries during the digital campaign. In the UAE, market share rose from 32% in January 2016 to 38% in March 2016, in KSA it rose from 22% in December 2015 to 23% in March 2016, and Kuwait saw the highest jump from 24% in February 2016 to 52% in March 2016. The increase in market share can be clearly attributed to the online campaign.

Although I was skeptical about going digital-only, it really worked; I did notice the numbers rise.

Fayez Awadeh, Otrivin Brand Activation Manager for the Gulf and Near East

When asked to sum up plans for achieving success going forward, Fayez reveals that digital spend for Otrivin will go up. “TV is there, but digital is getting as important and has to be an essential part of the marketing mix. You’ve got to reach consumers, and what’s the best way to reach them? Mobile and digital. You can’t run from it. It’s happening much faster than we think.”