Crawfords Healthcare

Improving children’s compliance with eczema cream

Improv­ing children’s com­pli­ance with eczema cream

An Australian emollient brand wanted to compete against major players, such as E45, in the UK, while overcoming the major problem of compliance in under-fives. Regular application of emollients is the best way to manage eczema, but research revealed parents and healthcare professionals struggled to get children to accept the sometimes lengthy and repetitive application process. We created a fun character to help improve compliance across a range of campaign materials, from an iPhone app to in-clinic play kits.


QV is an Aus­tralian brand of emol­lients for dry, itchy skin. In the UK, it’s up against big-bud­get brands like E45. Dis­trib­u­tor, Craw­ford Health­care, couldn’t out­spend the lead­ers, so they aimed to out­smart them instead.

One sec­tor of the emol­lient mar­ket – eczema in under-5s – has a com­pli­ance issue. It’s well served with treat­ments, but there’s a short­age of engag­ing help and infor­ma­tion for kids and their parents.

Research showed that the main rea­son for fail­ure to com­ply is poor under­stand­ing of the chron­ic nature of the dis­ease – name­ly the itch-scratch cycle’ and the need to break it. Some par­ents were under the false impres­sion that eczema is an aller­gy and cream will cure’ it. There­fore, there was a big job to do on edu­cat­ing them about the con­di­tion and the impor­tance of reg­u­lar appli­ca­tion of emollients. 

In addi­tion to this, young­sters with sore, itchy skin aren’t always co-oper­a­tive. In fact, research con­duct­ed with 500 par­ents revealed that 79% were forced to use dis­trac­tion tech­niques to encour­age their chil­dren to have eczema creams and oint­ments applied regularly.

Par­ents at the end of their teth­er need­ed more help than a pot of cream and a tech­ni­cal leaflet. And health­care pro­fes­sion­als need­ed more than reas­sur­ing words.


Time and cost are two oth­er big bar­ri­ers to com­pli­ance. Par­ents and pro­fes­sion­als both want chil­dren to apply their emol­lients more often, with min­i­mum fuss. We had to find a unique way to encour­age chil­dren to inter­act with the QV brand and see the process of apply­ing creams as just part of their day.

What could engage chil­dren more than a cute, cud­dly polar bear? We devel­oped our Qool Vince (QV) char­ac­ter to cre­ate a point of dif­fer­ence in the busy, emol­lient market.

As well as putting the brand name firm­ly in the mind of par­ents and pro­fes­sion­als, Qool Vince was a fel­low suf­fer­er, so he could talk direct­ly to kids and help mums and dads with advice for bath time, bed­time, play­time and school.


Qool Vince appeared every­where: dot-to-dot books, colour­ing sheets and wall charts with reward stick­ers to help kids and par­ents keep track of treat­ments. To sup­port der­ma­tol­ogy nurs­es and GPs, we also cre­at­ed play kits and infor­ma­tion packs for kids to use in clin­ic wait­ing rooms.

We even devel­oped a fun, free app called Beat the Itch with QV’, to edu­cate par­ents on the impor­tance of com­pli­ance, while encour­ag­ing chil­dren with eczema and oth­er dry skin con­di­tions to apply their emol­lients. The app was avail­able on iPhone and iPad touch, and pro­vid­ed the ulti­mate dis­trac­tion as kids nav­i­gate Qool Vince through an excit­ing Arc­tic adven­ture while hav­ing their cream applied.

The cam­paign was pro­mot­ed dur­ing Nation­al Eczema Week via trade press, clin­ic mate­ri­als and web­site con­tent, includ­ing an online colour­ing com­pe­ti­tion. With­in the first year, we gave out QV com­pli­ance packs to approx­i­mate­ly 7,000 patients. This had an imme­di­ate impact on sales, and by the end of the first report­ing peri­od, IMS sales for QV were up 104% year-on-year. 

The QV online colour­ing gallery and app down­loads show that chil­dren were very recep­tive to the char­ac­ter. Anec­do­tal­ly, par­ents and HCPs were extreme­ly pos­i­tive, too. This suc­cess inspired us to spon­sor the Scot­tish Eczema Soci­ety with their pub­li­ca­tion of a scrap­book con­tain­ing draw­ings, poems, pho­tos and com­ments from chil­dren liv­ing with eczema. We donat­ed QV com­pli­ance packs to all of the society’s new members. 

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