Ads With Attitude

Great Gimmicks

You won't find these recipes in Bon Appetit.

A spoonful of sugar not only helps the medicine go down--it also helps profits go up. Just ask Harold and Kenneth Kramm (l. to r.), father-and-son proprietors of Center Pharmacy in Washington, DC. Six years ago, when Kenneth's young daughter refused to swallow some bitter medicine, the pair figured out how to formulate it in flavors like bubble gum, root beer and butterscotch.

The result? A resounding "Yum." After asking local pediatricians if their patients would be interested in flavored medicines, the Kramms developed more than 100 flavors. Today, they benefit from the three-dollar flavoring charge and the 60 to 70 additional customers the service attracts each day to their store. Kenneth says some parents drive up to 40 miles to buy the child-friendly concoctions.

So successful were the partners that two years ago, they developed a spin-off business, Flavorx Inc., that sells flavorings to some 400 pharmacists and 15 hospitals nationwide. Kenneth, who has a background in marketing, also develops customized ads for each participating store. "A lot of pharmacists don't know how to advertise," he explains. "This helps them compete against the big chains."

David DeVido, owner of Briargrove Pharmacy in Houston, took the idea one step further: As well as flavored kids' medicines, he creates flavored medicines for animals. "Fish and chicken for cats, beef for dogs," DeVido says. It's the cat's meow.

Contact Sources

Briargrove Pharmacy, 6435 San Felipe, Houston, TX 77057, (713) 783-5704

The Competitive Advantage, 1101 King St., #110, Alexandria, VA 22314

Direct Hit Marketing, 6632 Hummel, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 368-7979

Flavorx Inc./Center Pharmacy, (800) 884-5771, fax: (202) 363-4312

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ads With Attitude.

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