Re-generating a mature market
A SmithKline Beecham case study

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Page 2: Turnaround marketing

The Dr.Best success story is about turnaround marketing i.e. moving from a position of weakness to one of strength. Lingner + Fischer is a German subsidiary of SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare. In the late 1980s it launched a new toothbrush which, within months, became one of the most outstanding Oral Care products ever seen in Germany. The new product was the Dr.Best “Flex” and it was to trigger a radical change in consumer buying habits ... and cause a revolution in the whole nature, size and value of the toothbrush market - both within Germany and later in other countries.

At the beginning of 1987, the survival of the Dr.Best brand was in doubt. For years it had been losing Market Share to Procter & Gamble, who at the time had established an enormous superiority. In 1987, Lingner + Fischer were not sure about whether to keep or sell the Dr.Best brand. They had identified a few strengths associated with the brand, in particular, a high brand awareness. Dr.Best was a very familiar name to the German consumer. It was first launched in 1953 and its “aided brand awareness” figure was equal to the market leader in 1987. However, there were a number of weaknesses - for example the Brand Share for Dr.Best was 6%. Also there did not seem to be much mileage in toothbrushes in 1987. They were all seen as to be the same - i.e. in cleaning teeth in a fairly standard way. For many years there had been very little innovation or attempt to improve the product.

SmithKline Beecham | Re-generating a mature market