Covonia ran a bullish media campaign


Key Points

  • Covonia wanted to grow sales and close the gap on the brand leader
  • They opted for an integrated advertising campaign with emotive creative work
  • As a result, they saw strong sales growth YoY

The Challenge

Covonia is the no. 2 brand within the cough medicine market. It’s a traditional, no nonsense brand that provides a range of powerful, effective cough remedies designed for adults. Its design reminds one of apothecary, conjuring up images of a remedy passed down through the generations.

In 2017, they had some clear objectives:

  • Grow ex-factory sales
  • Grow share of market to close gap on brand leader
  • Long term ambition to become the leader in the adult cough category, maintaining profitable growth and ROI
  • Give the brand greater individuality and stand-out within the category

The Solution

Covonia tasked their agency, Bray Leino, to come up with a solution that addressed their objectives. Bray Leino identified an opportunity to target C1C2DE 35 to 54-year olds. This audience were not only category users who also provided the necessary volume to reach the sales target, but they were not being spoken to directly by Covonia’s competitors. In addition, this audience felt like a good fit for the hard-working cough medicine.

Research revealed that most cough brands are seen by this audience as meeting functional needs. Bray Leino saw an opportunity to create a more emotional connection with the audience. They wanted to position Covonia as a unique cough remedy for people with fighting spirit – ‘Covonian spirit’. They produced a campaign that broke with the category convention of problem/solution style advertising by using a more emotional approach and creating content not seen in the category before.

The Plan

Bray Leino decided that TV should be the lead medium for the activity since the target audience are heavy TV viewers (40+ hours a week) and previous data showed significant sales uplifts from previous TV campaigns. The campaign ran between November and January, to tie in with cough incident data from the past five years.

The power of audio visual media meant they were able to showcase the iconic Covonia bull as an intense and vivid representation of the attitude shared by the brand and the target audience. The ad was very different from conventional cough medicine ads with its dramatic, cinematic look and a dark colour theme that conveyed the attitude and tonal cues of the brand.

Through a disruptive challenge, asking consumers if they’ve ‘Got the bottle’ to ride the bull and ‘Feel the Power’, they were able to reinforce the established functional perceptions of the brand while also dialling up emotional engagement with the audience.

The TV activity was supported by and integrated with social media, outdoor, online, PR, VOD and POS. One good example was when Theresa May had a coughing fit during her speech at the Conservative party conference. Covonia did a Facebook post with the message ‘Cough Medicine for the many, not the few’. In addition, there was a chatbot where users could talk to the Covonia bull (named Vince) who would help the user choose the right medicine.


  • Covonia grew their market by 2% (source: IRI)
  • Covonia share increased amongst core 35-64 age group (Kantar WorldPanel)
  • Covonia achieved 24% market share with just 17% share of voice (source: Nielsen)

With Bray Leino we have delivered a highly successful Covonia campaign. We have disrupted and stood out in the cough category by playing to our unique and highly individual personality and values. This has delivered real business results with strong increases in our ex-factory sales and in market sales.

Ed Round Director of Consumer Marketing, Thornton & Ross Ltd

Sector: Medicines

Brand: Covonia

Campaign objectives: To grow sales and market share

Target Audience: C1C2DE adults aged 35-54

Budget: £1m

Campaign Dates: The campaign ran from 13th November 2017 to 28th January 2018

TV Usage: 30 seconds and 10 seconds

Creative Agency: Bray Leino

Media Agency:  Bray Leino

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