CONSUMER HEALTH PR: The launch of Myrkl

WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY WANTED

Swedish nutraceuticals firm, De Faire Medical (DFM), came to us with a unique product.

A product that contains AB001™, which a peer-reviewed clinical study had revealed could process up to 70% of alcohol consumed within 60 minutes.

They approached us to launch Myrkl to the world. And boy, we did.

Organisational objectives:

  • Drive sales via myrkl.co.uk
  • Generate leads for retail and pharmacy listings

Communications objectives:

  • Build understanding in the product – how it works, how it is different/better than other brands
  • Differentiate the product from other inferior products in the market 
  • Create advocacy with health experts, high profile aspirational individuals and the media

WHAT WE DID

We ran the brand’s target audiences through Global Web Index find out which media they read and what their broader interests were, and aligned our strategy to focus on that, and used this to position Myrkl to avoid any problems with the regulators, and to dispel criticisms that Myrkl would face and built this into our crisis communications planning.   

We also advised on how Myrkl should be positioned and provided further advice under guidance from regulatory compliance professionals. (Compliance restrictions around food supplements are notoriously tight and delicate. We knew we couldn’t go out positioning it based on its efficacy as it is not a regulated medicine.)

A trail of breadcrumbs was needed, to point journalists to this most digestible and easily understood conclusion. So we laid one out.

Vitally, we also recognised that the Myrkl.co.uk website was a new, virgin website which had not had any prior SEO work done on it, and therefore that on the day of launch, it would not rank for its own brand in search engines. We therefore advised a branded PPC campaign was needed, so that it would appear in search results on the day of launch when people searched for “Myrkl”, to capture the sales and traffic the PR push would generate. We launched this PPC campaign and on the day of launch and the branded campaign captured the sales and traffic.

OUR CAMPAIGN

Knowing that people can be sceptical of food supplements, we recommended enlisting the voice of a medical professional, and enlisted TV and tabloid favourite, GP Dr Dawn Harper, of ITV’s Embarrassing Bodies fame, to provide a respected, medical professional’s take on the product.

We designed and directed a marketing and socials video capturing Dr Dawn’s take on the product, and pushed out quotes from her commenting on the product.

We positioned the launch story as a “scientific breakthrough”, instead of a product launch – designed to aim for higher ambitions than health product columns, and instead land in the front end news pages, in pieces written by science editors. And we alluded to the impact it could have on hangovers, without ever making any claims or even using the word ‘hangover’.

Our trail of breadcrumbs worked. The media got the inference and ran with it.

The response was a beautifully constructed media storm. For weeks, our team were up to bat, handling a constant flurry of media, customer and social media enquiries.

As Caitlin Moran wrote in the Times Magazine the Saturday after the launch, “The press has been full of the wonders of Myrkl…THE MAGIC POTION HAS FINALLY ARRIVED!”

Journalists were desperate to get their hands on the product. We had entire editorial teams trialling it – including the Telegraph’s Science Correspondent, Joe Pinkstone, who trialled it at the Royal Society dinner, and declared it “an act of God” – and later in the year, arranged shipments to media houses timed for the days of their Christmas parties, to ensure we really owned the Christmas party narrative.

However, it was by no means plain sailing. As glowing praise rolled in, so too did scepticism from media, medics and the general population rolled in – which required us to draw on our independent medical expert’s view and carefully planned and designed product messages, which mitigated criticism and appeased difficult questions. Not entirely – but mostly.

Such was the success that this previously unknown brand landed firmly on the radar of the The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and British Medical Journal (BMJ), who asked us to quantify claims that Myrkl was a hangover cure.

Despite the piles and piles of coverage mentioning the word hangover, this was never a claim that we had made, and nothing was ever produced or written that said this – and we could prove that by supplying copies of our press materials.

THE RESULTS

We know that the following results were a result of our PR campaign alone, as there was no other performance marketing taking place – no above the line, no PPC on non-branded terms or competitor brand names, no social promotion and the website was a virgin website that had never been promoted before.

  • Global supply of the product (including quantities of stock forecasted to last 6 months) of stock sold out within 24 hours of the PR launch – so they had to contract manufacture more
  • Myrkl was the number one searched for brand on Google in the UK on the day of the launch (according to Google UK itself)
  • The website crashed due to sheer traffic volume
  • The launch went viral across socials including Twitter and TikTok, UK and international media, with rave reviews from journalists including Caitlin Moran and influencers alike
  • Major retailers contacted us about listing the product within the first 24 hours of the launch
  • Every mainstream national newspaper covered the launch, with the (perhaps understandable) exception of the Financial Times
  • 470 pieces of coverage appeared in the UK alone in just six months
  • 84% of coverage (395 pieces) contained one or more key messages
  • 22,996,514,887 combined circulation of coverage achieved

Such was the success of the UK launch that we were asked to launch the product in 18 international territories, and span up teams in 18 different countries within weeks, including France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Estonia, to name a few.

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