Case Study: Seven Seas Academy

Helping Merck Healthcare drive sales through (re)connecting with the next generation of consumers

We are spending more on health than ever before.

One of the fastest growing categories is health supplements: a global market worth more than $132 billion in 2016, and projected to grow at 8.8% per annum over the next five years[i].

Consumers now can choose from an ever expanding range of mineral and vitamin supplements, containing micronutrients intended to help a human body function smoothly and enhance mental health.

For Seven Seas, Merck Healthcare’s cod liver oil brand, increased competition had led to a gradual erosion of mindshare in India. With an 80 year history, it was time for the brand to re-connect to a new generation of customers.

So Seven Seas’ marketing team partnered with Creation to develop and launch a new brand campaign, targeting a 10% increase in annual sales.

Research commissioned by Merck Healthcare found that while parents (especially mothers) are concerned about all-round development of their children, helping them excel academically was the #1 reason influencing purchase decisions. India has more than 232 million school-aged kids, which means there is often intense parental and peer pressure to achieve. And culturally, Indian parents love to share their children’s academic success stories with friends and family.

Bringing these insights together, our strategy was to create a campaign platform that would enable us to promote the benefits of cod liver oil for brain development whilst helping pupils (and their parents) celebrate their accomplishments.

Our creative solution was to launch the Seven Seas Academy — a national programme to identify and honour India’s brightest young minds.

We developed a fully integrated marketing campaign involving owned platforms (website, social media), earned media, influencer marketing, experiential, point of sale promotions, and more. But at the heart of the Academy was a schools competition for 5–7 grades, with more than 60,000 children taking part across 200 schools in ten cities. Students took specially developed aptitude tests on general knowledge, logical reasoning and data interpretation. Winners from each school then went into a city round, before reaching the national finals — and the opportunity to win a study trip to NASA.

Each participating school became a ‘Seven Seas Academy’. Alongside on-campus branding (including selfie corners), we hosted health & development workshops and panel discussions with independent experts to directly engage more than 150,000 parents.

Earned media coverage was amplified through paid opportunities including adverts and advertorials. And we enlisted Seven Seas’ brand ambassador, Raveena Tandon, to host the grand finale. 20 students took part in a live quiz in front of an audience of parents, teachers and senior leaders in academia.

The campaign — from concept to execution — was delivered in just four months. The cities — and schools — chosen represented Seven Seas biggest geographic market opportunities in India.

In total, more than 400,000 households were engaged directly. Media coverage — broadcast, print and online — reached an audience of 779 million. And through digital channels we achieved 7.23 million impressions and an engagement rate of 47%.

But perhaps most importantly, we re-connected millions of consumers with the Seven Seas brand and helped achieve 23% growth in national sales — a very healthy return on marketing investment.

[i] Zion Market Research, January 2017