"Tremendous opportunities": Bayer ASEAN head on driving supplements growth via airline and TikTok

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Bayer owns well-known vitamin brands such as Redoxon.
Bayer owns well-known vitamin brands such as Redoxon.

Related tags Bayer South east asia Vitamins

Moving fast and quick is crucial to tap on the “tremendous opportunities” that the South East Asia (SEA) market presents, according to Bayer’s ASEAN head who also spoke about the firm’s recent partnership with an airline and its promotional Tiktok dance video.

The owner of vitamin brands Redoxon and Berocca, Bayer oversees its business in SEA from its regional headquarter in Philippines. 

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, ​Alvin Brian So, head of commercial operations, consumer health ASEAN, said there were “tremendous opportunities”​ in the region’s consumer health market. 

Alvin So Bayer
Alvin Brian So, head of commercial operations, consumer health ASEAN

A high birth rate, growing middle class, and the potential for increased health spending, have placed the region “in the sweet spot”​ for booming growth, said So.  

This also means more competition from both MNCs and local players since there is high interest in the region.

“Not only do you have the usual MNCs, one of the things about SEA is it also has very strong local companies.

“Some of these companies are strong not only in their home country, but they are present across SEA, and you can even consider them as a regional firm,” ​he said. 

This means that executing the right strategy quickly is crucial for success.

“To be successful in this kind of market, you need to have the right strategy and also execute it quickly and well and at the same time, possess a very good understanding of the local markets,” ​he added.

This was perhaps the reason why the company was able to grow at four times the market rate in the past two years. 

Travel at ease

Similar to other markets across the globe, Bayer ASEAN witnessed booming sales in its immunity product range, especially from the Redoxon brand and the other vitamin C-based products as a result of COVID-19.

At the same time, it has come up with new initiatives to fuel further growth, such as finding opportunities to introduce its products to consumers as certain countries start to ease travel restrictions. 

It recently partnered with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to provide free samples of Redoxon Double Action ​ consisting of vitamin C and zinc ​ to all passengers taking domestic flights in Malaysia. 

Redoxon vitamin tubes

The idea is to give airline passengers a peace of mind when they are concerned about their immune health while travelling. 

Each passenger will receive a Redoxon sachet together with a complimentary hygiene kit, consisting of non-surgical face mask, a sachet of hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes, from the airline as part of its "FLY Confidently" campaign. 

The partnership will run from August to December and 300,000 sachet of Redoxon Double Action will be provided. 

“(The discussion came to fruition) really quickly. When you have an idea that resonates with the consumers, it is very easy for it to progress.

The best activities are initiatives that not only build business but also contribute to the society,”​ So said on the partnership with MAS.

Vitamin, energy, and dance

The company also released a dance video featuring Vietnamese artistes Isaac and Lou Hoang as part of its Berocca Mango 2pm campaign in Vietnam.

This is to promote the product Berocca Performance Mango, a multivitamin effervescent drink, for boosting mental sharpness and energy especially after the lunch break. The product contains B vitamins, vitamin C, and essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

The campaign also consists of a dance challenge on Tiktok from August 24 to September 20, where users will dance to the theme song '2 PM' of the dance video. 

Berocca perfomance Mango
Berocca Performance Mango

Five major prizes, including three iPad Pros, one apple watch, one 65-inch TV, and Berocca vitamin products, will be given to the winners of the dance challenge. 

“This is a campaign that incorporates a very strong consumer insight together with a fun and engaging modern platform,”​ So said.

The message we want to bring across is that if you take Berocca, because of its vitamin B complex and vitamin C composition, which we have scientifically formulated, it can boost your energy level and improve mental and physical sharpness.”

The nearly four-minute long dance video has been circulating on video sharing platform TikTok, garnering over 330 million views as of Sep 7.

Experiment new things

At the heart of these projects is the willingness to address consumer insights with novel, experimental methods.

“We need to have a winning mindset, identify consumer needs and try new things,”​ So said.

An example was how the company had launched single-use sachet for both Redoxon and Berocca vitamin products, on top of the tube effervescent products.

This is to allow consumers with limited spending capability, also the underserved segment, to have the chance to try out the products.

“With the positive experience, they might even buy a tube in the future,”​ he said, adding how the initiative also echoed the company’s 2030 vision “Health for all, hunger for none”.

The health supplement industry has reached a new milestone with COVID-19 generating a heightened health awareness amongst consumers.

Moving forward, he believes that new breakthroughs can be achieved with new innovations based on science, as well as integrating both online and offline retail experience.

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