Top Companies Report

25. Merck

July 11, 2011

Whitehouse Station, NJ


Sales: $580 million


$580 million for foot and sun care products. Corporate sales: $46 billion. Net income: $982 million.

Key Personnel:

Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman, president and chief executive officer; Bridgette P. Heller, executive vice president and president, consumer health care; Peter Kellogg, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Peter Kim, executive vice president and president, Merck Research Laboratories.

Major Products:

Sun care—Coppertone and Solarcaine; Skin care—A+D Ointment; Foot care—Lotrimin, Tinactin and Dr. Scholl’s.

New Products:

Coppertone Oil Free Foaming Sunscreen Lotion SPF 75+, Coppertone Sport Lotion SPF 100+, Coppertone Tanning Lotion SPF 15, Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Foaming Lotion SPF 75+, Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple Lotion SPF 50, Coppertone Tanning Lotion SPF 15; Dr. Scholl’s For Her Jelly Soak Therapy.

New Foaming Lotion Coppertone Oil Free.


Merck acquired Schering-Plough in early 2009 for $41 billion, and the innovators at Coppertone are working to prove that their brand should remain in the mix. Global sales of consumer care products were $1.3 billion during 2010 reflecting strong performance of a number of key brands including Dr. Scholl’s and Coppertone, according to Merck’s 2010 annual report. Consumer care product sales were $149 million for the post-merger period in 2009.

In December 2010, Merck announced that its board had elected Kenneth C. Frazier, then Merck’s president, as chief executive officer and president, as well as a member of the board, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Frazier succeeds Richard T. Clark, who will continue to serve as chairman.

The Coppertone Solar Research Center has published key insights from its Suncare 2020 Symposium held in New York City last summer. The event convened selected thought leaders from government, medicine, academia, advocacy and industry to initiate dialogue and capture vision around the best ways to educate the public in today’s evolving sun care environment.

Four critical themes emerged from the symposium:

• Create information to prompt behavior change.

• Help educate the public on navigating expected sunscreen labeling and product performance rules.

• Separate myth from reality (inconsistent messages in the media about topics such as tanning, vitamin D, sunscreen ingredients and good sun protection habits).

• Tailor education efforts to resonate with generational and cultural needs.

Prompted by the symposium’s call to action, the Coppertone Solar Research Center created a checklist to “RAISE” public awareness. The move came prior to the Food and Drug Administration’s release of the final rules for sunscreen labeling (see p. 46). The RAISE elements include:

• Rating UVA Protection—New UVA information will likely berequired on sunscreen labels in addition to SPF.

• Anti-Aging—Products with SPF may be further limited in making claims related to premature skin aging.

• Ingredients—New active ingredients or active ingredientcombinations could be approved.

• SPF Cap: SPF values may be capped.

• Expression of Claims: Claims language on sunscreen labels could change, according to Coppertone.

Sales of suntan lotion and oil jumped more than 10% last year to $685.2 million, according to data from SymphonyIRI Group. Coppertone is among the leading brands with a variety of new rollouts this season especially.

New products include the Coppertone Oil Free Foaming Sunscreen Lotion SPF 75+ and Water Babies Sunscreen Foaming Lotion SPF 75+.

“We’ve done something innovative by creating two new foams,” explained Patricia Agin, a fellow at Coppertone’s Solar Research Center, told Happi. “There is a continuing trend to create products that have a convenience feature to them.”

According to Agin, the foams offer an alternative to consumers who don’t want to use alcohol-based sprays or traditional lotions which can be more difficult to rub in compared to foams.

“We experimented with emulsion systems and came up with one that works well, is compatible with sunscreen ingredients and has a delightful feel,” she explained.

Other rollouts include Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen Lotion SPF 100, formulated for active adults, and Water Babies Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 that provides tear-free, broad-spectrum sun protection in a 2oz. size that Coppertone maintains is ideal for the diaper bag. The formula is oil- and fragrance-free and is said to be extremely gentle to babies’ delicate skin and eyes. Dr. Scholl’s latest innovation for summer is Dr. Scholl’s For Her Jelly Soak Therapy, a lavender-scented soothing treatment for tired feet.

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