Marketing is always easiest when you’re the genuine market leader.

You ‘own’ an entire category and define its rules. You’re trusted and famous. You can even steal good ideas from your competitors with relative impunity.

In fact, only a seismic disruption in the market can throw you off your perch: a new technology, a dramatic change in market dynamics, a major shift in public mood.

Not long ago our client Intervet – the UK’s dominant player in pet vaccines – faced two of those challenges simultaneously.

On the one hand, the debate about MMR was in full flow. Issues about human vaccination were adversely affecting the market for pet vaccines. Simultaneously, a number of corporate veterinary ‘chains’ were starting to emerge, shifting the criterion for vaccine selection from efficacy to price.

As Intervet’s lead agency we were asked to respond, and developed a two-pronged strategy. First, we reinforced the Intervet brand to vets with a series of powerful, long copy press ads. These explained the issues authoritatively, reassuringly and emotively – just as you’d expect from a market leader.

Secondly, we helped vets – Intervet’s customers – to communicate with their own clients, the pet owners; ultimately with a TV ad that generated some 32,000 additional vaccinations in the space of a month.

The first year the vet campaign ran, Intervet added nearly 7% in market share. But more importantly, the campaign undoubtedly saved many hundreds of animals’ lives.

Not bad for a campaign developed in response to a crisis.

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