Client BrandIndex featured in Mediapost's Marketing Daily about consumer perception of hay fever brands

Benadryl Tops In Brand Buzz As Hay Fever Season Begins

Hay fever season begins in earnest this week, starting in late summer and extending into early fall. And when it comes to allergy medications, consumers seem to have more favorable opinions about the tried-and-true medications than they do some of the newer prescription strength products now available over the counter.

According to YouGovPolimetrix's BrandIndex, which measures consumer perceptions of various products daily, Benadryl leads the pack when it comes to brand awareness, buzz and perceived quality and customer satisfaction. "Benadryl is getting more positive awareness across to consumers," Ted Marzilli, vp of the company's brand group, tells Marketing Daily. "It's a dependable brand that's trustworthy among consumers."

When it comes to recent awareness (i.e., having heard of the brand recently either through news, advertising or word of mouth), Benadryl led the category, with about 34% of consumers responding that they had heard recently about the brand. Claritin was a close second with 30% having heard recently about the brand, and 25% said they had heard of Zyrtec. (Responses are from daily polling of 5,000 consumers completed last week.)

Sudafed and Allegra were in the middle of the pack, with 16% and 19% awareness, respectively. New entry Alavert, which has just been offered over the counter this year, had only 9% awareness among consumers. Compared with data from mid-May, the awareness percentages change slightly (Claritin had 37%, while Benadryl had 30% and Zyrtec had 20%, for instance), and the grouping remained the same.

"There are three brands that have high awareness, two brands that have moderate awareness and one brand with relatively low awareness," Marzilli says.

But in other categories--such as Buzz, which measures positive awareness of brands--Benadryl also leads the pack, according to the BrandIndex, particularly in recent days. As of last Thursday, 32% of consumers reported positive buzz about Benadryl, compared with 27% for Claritin and 21% for Zyrtec. Allegra, Sudafed and Alavert had positive buzz of 11%, 18% and 8%, respectively.

"Benadryl is far and away the highest in terms of buzz," Marzilli says. "While they had been up there before, Benadryl is getting more positive awareness across to consumers."

Benadryl also has higher ratings when it comes to consumer perceptions of quality--with scores in the low 50s, compared with Claritin and Sudafed, which both are in the low 30s. While Sudafed lags behind other brands in the awareness categories, its long history of dependability may be helping it when it comes to quality perceptions, Marzilli says.

Benadryl also ranks twice as high when it comes to customer satisfaction--with a score in the low 40s--than the other brands, such as Claritin and Sudafed's rankings in the high teens. The customer satisfaction measure is important when trying to assess a brand's lasting health. "If people have tried those other brands and they don't rank as high, you may not get as much repeat usage," Marzilli says.

Marzilli attributed Benadryl's high rankings over the other products in the other categories to several factors. These include the brand's history as an effective over-the-counter treatment, and the move by stores to move decongestant products such as Sudafed and Claritin-D behind the pharmacy counter to control illicit usage. "Clearly, if folks have hay fever and they don't see a product on the shelf, it may have an adverse effect," Marzilli says.