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.