JULY 22, 2010
JOHN A. QUELCH HEATHER BECKHAM
Metabical: Positioning and Communications Strategy for a New Weight-Loss Drug “I have tried countless diets and every new weight-loss pill that has come on the market. Nothing seems to take off those extra pounds. With diets, I am miserable because I am starving all the time, and none of the weight-loss pills seem to work. I might lose a couple pounds, but I never reach my weightloss goals and I usually end up gaining more back. I would give anything to lose this extra 20 pounds, so that I can live a longer, happier life.” — Tamara Jinkens: focus group participant, age 42 Barbara Printup, senior director of marketing for Cambridge Sciences Pharmaceuticals (CSP), listened as overweight focus group participants recounted their lifelong struggles with weight loss. Printup had just been placed in charge of the upcoming U.S. product launch of CSP’s newest prescription drug, Metabical (pronounced Meh-tuh-bye-cal). In clinical trials, Metabical proved to be safe and effective in stimulating weight loss for moderately overweight individuals. CSP was an international health care company with a focus on developing, manufacturing, and marketing products that treat metabolic disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, immune deficiencies, as well as other chronic and acute medical conditions. The company captured over $25 billion in sales in 2007. Printup had over 20 years of experience marketing prescription drugs for CSP. She had led six new drug campaigns and had just concluded work on Zimistat, CSP’s most successful product launch to date. Final FDA approval for Metabical was expected in the coming year, and the product launch was scheduled for January 2009. It was now February 2008, and Printup’s first order of business was to develop a viable positioning strategy and associated marketing communications plan for Metabical.
Overweight Adults in the U.S.
Researchers and health care professionals measure excess weight using the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale. The BMI scale1, which calculates the relationship between weight and height associated 1 BMI = body weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ HBS Professor John A. Quelch and writer Heather Beckham prepared this case solely as a basis for class discussion and not as an endorsement, a source of primary data, or an illustration of effective or ineffective management. This case, though based on real events, is fictionalized, and any resemblance to actual persons or entities is coincidental. The narration includes occasional references to actual companies. Copyright © 2010 Harvard Business School Publishing. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Harvard Business Publishing. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.
For use only in the course Business Fundamentals at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning taught by Guillermo Wilches from Nov 30, 2012 to Dec 14, 2012. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.
4240 | Metabical: Positioning and Communications Strategy for a New Weight-Loss Drug
with body fat and health risk, is appropriate for both men and women. It has three BMI categories of excess weight for adults: overweight (25 to 30); obese (30 to 40); and severely, or morbidly, obese (over 40).
Health and Social Issues
Excess weight is considered a public health crisis in the U.S., with approximately 65% of the entire adult population categorized as overweight, obese,...