Brand: Cartia
Client: GSK
Creative agency: Grey
Media agencies: Bellamy Hayden and Motivator


Over recent years, a proliferation of anti-platelet products has been driven by the ever increasing incidence of coronary heart disease and causative pathology such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Anti-platelet therapies are a mainstay preventative treatment, both before and after the first cardiovascular incidence. ‘An aspirin a day’ is a widely accepted, economical treatment choice. Cartia is a low dose aspirin product indicated for secondary prevention; i.e. prevention of a repeat cardiovascular event.

Because of its lengthy heritage, over-familiarity and the wide availability of cheap generic products, low dose aspirin is associated with a profound lack of interest; there is nothing ‘sexy’ about aspirin.

Cartia itself is decades old, and had been toppled from its original position as market leader by the cheaper, generic aspirin alternatives. Cartia was considered an old ‘familiar’ brand that healthcare professionals felt there was nothing new about. Grey undertook the challenge to relaunch this well-established product in a flooded market sector where the active component, aspirin, was considered rather old-fashioned.

The relaunch of a branded product within a market dominated by cheap generics was bound to be extremely tough and it would take a unique and valuable selling point in order to be considered. Luckily, Cartia had one in the form of its ‘duentric’ coat. Chronic use of aspirin is associated with gastrointestinal side effects and Cartia’s duentric coat confers a valuable gastrointestinal protective benefit by potentially securing safe transit through the stomach, the area most vulnerable to gastrointestinal side effects.

An advertising and promotional campaign was devised, in bright, eye-catching orange and with the use of cheeky copy, to achieve cut-through and memorability. In order to gain interest, the campaign restated the efficacy of low dose aspirin as a preventer of coronary events and highlighted Cartia’s unique duentric coating.

Due to regulations, Cartia was initially promoted only to healthcare professionals. In mid 2006, however, as the campaign was appearing, there was a regulatory change and Cartia was granted approval by the Therapeutic Goods of Australia Committee (the TGA) for marketing directly to the consumer.

Objectives and strategy

At the initiation of marketing activities, Cartia required GP recommendation in order to gain consumer awareness. Therefore, the primary strategy was concentrated on marketing activities directed to this audience, in order to place Cartia in the ‘front of mind’ position to achieve this recommendation. The primary objective was to secure Cartia as the low dose aspirin most frequently recommended by GPs. The ultimate objective was to regain market leader status and increase sales.

The key message was one of effectiveness and safety:

  • to reinforce the effectiveness of low dose aspirin in preventing cardiovascular events, and
  • to communicate the benefit of Cartia’s unique duentric coating.

The aim was to keep the message simple, but without rehashing the same old approach commonly used in relation to pharmaceutical products, e.g. promoting simply on the basis of the product’s ‘effectiveness’.

Another challenge was having a very minimal amount to spend. A low budget often dictates the use of shock tactics to cut through and be noticed; you can’t rely on a big media spend to hammer a message home. But shock tactics to conservative doctors and pharmacists could undermine the credibility of the message. The question was just how far to push it.

The campaign was therefore designed be acceptably cheeky and witty, remaining relevant to the message and category and not just being clever for the sake of it – simple, strong definitive rational statements delivering the facts. The word ‘bloody’ was used to give the campaign life and personality. The everyday, no nonsense tone was employed to provide a refreshingly honest edge and make low dose aspirin seem as contemporary and relevant today as it was 20 years ago.

The use of orange as a branding colour not only served to create added impact in publications, but became a visual property from print to point of sale to brand reminders, right down to the actual orange duentric coating of the tablets.

Following TGA approval midway through the campaign, communication was expanded to include consumers, with the minimal allocated budget that remained.


It was important that this product relaunch was impactful yet economical. Creative and media budget was limited to $400,000; therefore creative had to be both effective and simple to execute.

Single-page A4 ads were placed in the key GP trade journals Australian Doctor and Medical Observer. These were selected in preference to double-page spreads (DPS) for increased prominence; it was felt that a DPS advertisement for Cartia might too quickly be passed over once the brand identity and logo was recognised by the reader and potentially considered to be ‘old news’. A single-page A4 ad creates longer exposure as the reader digests the articles on the opposite page.

Throughout all materials, claims were boldly stated with prominent, cheeky, down to earth and simple copy including the word ‘bloody’. This direct and simple approach was designed to reflect the simplicity of once-daily aspirin as a cardio-protective measure, in comparison with the challenges of regular exercise, diet restriction and lifestyle changes.

The advertisement headline read: “You can never be too bloody safe” and rotated with “Bloody effective CVD prevention”.

A DM piece was created to double as a relevant and useful tool for GPs in the form of an A5 Body Mass Index calculator wheel, drawing upon the well-known link between obesity and CV risk. A four-page A5 leave-behind provided clinical information, complete with supporting graphs and evidence to communicate the efficacy of low dose aspirin in reducing CV risk.

It was decided that the best use of the limited budget available for consumer activity was to create an educational/promotional item and a DL brochure was produced. This was distributed via ‘INFOMED’ display stands within GP waiting rooms, thereby lending credibility to the brand, with the headline “Heart Attack? Stroke? Don’t be thick” in keeping with the bold and direct feeling of the original campaign.

The eye-catching orange colour of the brand was put to good use and the creative execution was designed to grab attention and raise interest and excitement in this rather tired area, for the maximum impact.


As a result of the new campaign Cartia has regained its position with GPs and pharmacists as the most recommended low dose aspirin. Cartia has grown to be the number one recommended brand by Australian GPs and pharmacists. Resources have been increased to pharmacists for 2007. All in all a simple, cost-effective campaign that stands out for all the right reasons.