drugstore.com, inc.: A Very Healthy Way To Shop campaign

Rayna Bailey


When drugstore.com launched its website in 1999, the competitors in the online-drugstore segment were primarily a site introduced that year by CVS, a traditional "brick-and-mortar" drugstore, as well as several "pure-play" Internet retailers (those with online stores only), including PlanetRx.com and Rx.com. By 2000 PlanetRx.com and Rx.com had closed their sites, drugstore giant Walgreens had introduced an online presence, and drugstore.com was growing, with reported revenues of $34.8 million its first year and nearly 724,000 unique visitors to its site in one month (February 2000). To drive business during its first year, drugstore.com spent $28.5 million on advertising created by ad agency McCann-Erickson. Despite its marketing efforts and growing consumer interest in the site, however, drugstore.com lost $115.8 million in 1999. Pushed by its partners—General Nutrition Center (GNC) and Rite Aid drugstores—drugstore.com dropped McCann-Erickson and signed on Fallon McElligott as its new agency in August 1999 (the agency shortened its name to Fallon in 2000).