BOCA RATON, FL: Motrin, the pain-relief line owned by Johnson & Johnson, has leveraged fundamental "human insights" to effectively escape the trap of being a "me too" brand.

Ryan Helzerman, associate director/global strategic insights at McNeil Consumer Healthcare – a unit of Johnson & Johnson – discussed this topic at The Market Research Event, a conference held by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

And he reported that a sea of sameness has long characterized the pain-relief category, due in large part to a strict set of regulatory limitations. (For more, including how the brand identified the right insights, read Warc's exclusive report: Motrin provides relief for me-too brands.)

The difficulty of delivering breakthrough innovation in a mature industry, coupled with the speed at which rivals can duplicate any such activity, only builds on that issue.

Overall, the result of these problems is a market segment where shoppers are faced with a lot of similar offerings on store shelves.

"Whether you're Advil, whether you're Motrin Migraine, whether you're the blue ibuprofen store brand or whether you're the orange ibuprofen store brand, the active ingredients, strengths, dosings and indications all look very similar," said Helzerman.

"Anyone can say they relieve pain. We can all say we're fast. We can all say we're strong. We can all say we're long-lasting," he continued.

Motrin, though, wanted to change that situation, and stand out from the pack by tapping "human insights" based around pain depriving consumers of valuable time.

"The human insight is frankly nothing new," admitted Helzerman.

What is new, however, is leveraging this notion in a way that truly resonates with Motrin's target customer.

"It's a specific articulation and it's the marrying [of that] with the pain insight that makes this powerful," Helzerman said.

Data sourced from Warc