Vicks Scorpio

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Vicks Health Care Division
Project Scorpio

Study Guideline

The “Vicks … Scorpio” case series traces the development of a new colds care product from the initial evaluation of market opportunity (February 1979) to final plans for a national launch (March 1981). The series will follow the process for a period of over two years. We will see the Scorpio Project team employ a wide variety of marketing research tools in an effort to launch a new brand in a relatively mature product against strong, established brands. While the case presents much more market research information than other cases, the research is not the primary focus of the series. The series affords an opportunity to see the entire marketing process unfold – from the assessment of market opportunity to the development of a marketing plan. Our first goal is to see how market research supports this process at various stages. A secondary goal is to gain an understanding of the relative advantages and disadvantages of various research procedures. The (A) case, set in February 1979, describes the Richardson-Merrell company, its Vicks Health Care Division, and new product marketing in that division. It also describes in detail the markets for colds care products and products for related conditions – sinusitis, allergy, coughs, and headaches. The main issues in the (A) case are whether there is an opportunity for Scorpio and, if yes, how it should be positioned. The (B) case, set in May 1980, reveals that Vicks chose a multi-condition positioning for Scorpio, via the brand name “Vicks Versus 3” and the claim that it was suitable for colds, sinus, and allergy. The bulk of the (B) case reports the four-city test market conducted over the previous 12 months. You are expected to evaluate both the design of the test and its results, and decide what to do next. The (C) Case, set in March 1981, reveals that the new products group has decided to recommend national expansion. The case...
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