Brand Naming Study: Emergency Contraceptive Pills

NOMEN Healthcare press release

NOMEN Healthcare: Brand Names for Emergency Contraceptive Pills

Düsseldorf, April 20th, 2015. Due to the historical decision of the European Commission and the EMA, the morning after pill is also available over the counter (OTC switch) in more traditional countries like Germany and Poland since the middle of March. The healthcare unit of the naming agency NOMEN International Deutschland GmbH has taken this opportunity and analysed more than 100 brand names for female emergency contraceptive pills. The result is that the names show significant intercultural differences with regard to image of women.

My Way in the US, Unwanted in India and ellaOne in Germany: The branding of morning after pills show significant intercultural differences considering women’s image. This is the result of a study led by the naming agency NOMEN International Deutschland GmbH who analysed 104 brand names (including prescription drugs) and the corresponding brand communication worldwide.

Lack of strong brands

There are only a few patient-oriented brands worldwide which means that only a few brands are illustrative and supported by a holistic branding approach, including Plan B One Step (Teva), Next Choice One Dose (Actavis), ellaOne (HRA Pharma), My Way (Gavis) and Escapelle (Gedeon Richter). Functional descriptive names based on the active ingredient and the indication or dosage form are dominating. Given that the content of these names are not tailored to the patients’ needs, they may not be able to stand up over strong brands in the long run. Out of the set of descriptive names, the illustrative and emotionally positioned brands clearly stand out.

The American Way of Life

Depending on the culture, such “spoken” illustrative brand names convey big differences in the content which, in turn, lets one draw conclusions about the societal position of the woman. In the US, women’s freedom of choice is focused on. The brand communication shows smiling, equal couples and self-confident women. It is all about ease, effortlessness and light-heartedness which are also communicated verbally by the slogans: “For the perfectly imperfect”, “The choice is at your hands” and “It’s your choice. Next Choice”.

Desperation in India, Iran and Kenya

Negative messages prevail in the analysed Asian, African and Latin American markets (i.e. Unwanted, PregNon, Ovocease, Preventol, Escapelle).The brand communication shows desperate young women and crying girls. The slogan of the Indian manufacturer Piramal for the drug i-pill is: “Because prevention is better than abortion”. In Kenya, a female angel is used as a key visual and gives an allusion of the fetus’ death on the packaging of the pill Emcon. In Latin American countries the brands focus on contraception. In Eastern Europe and Belarus, the positioning rather targets the topic of “escape”.

Restraint in Western Europe

In Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand the topic of the morning after pill is treated rather objectively. One of the main reasons is the strict legislation for healthcare advertising. Naming is neutral and functional; there are numerous descriptive names like PiDaNa (an abbreviation for “morning after pill” in German) in Germany. Only ellaOne and ella by the French manufacturer HRA Pharma are currently standing out with holistic brandings in the market. The names are neutral and open regarding the content. Yet, the woman is clearly the center of attention (ella = she in Spanish).

The morning after pill is currently available without a prescription in many countries across the world. In the UK, Levonelle with the active ingredient levonorgestrel and ellaOne containing ulipristal acetate are sold over the counter to girls over 16 since 2001. In Germany, only the drug ellaOne was switched to an OTC drug in mid-March 2015 according to a decision of the European Commission, PiDaNa (levonorgestrel) still requires a prescription.

Please request the complete study here.

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