CVS Corporation

Author:Rayna Bailey

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One CVS Drive

Woonsocket, Rhode Island 02895


Telephone: (401) 765-1500

Fax: (401) 766-2917

Web site:


In 2002 CVS Corporation's drugstore chain, CVS/pharmacy, was approaching its 40th anniversary, and as a result of steady growth it was nipping at the heels of the nation's number one drugstore chain, Walgreens. Although much of CVS's growth had been the result of acquisitions and was limited to specific regions of the United States, including New England and the Northeast, the drugstore chain was planning a push for national expansion. To reach consumers in markets where CVS was a new face as well as to enhance its brand image in areas where consumers were familiar with the chain, CVS turned to its advertising agency, Boston-based Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos (often called Hill Holliday).

The campaign Hill Holliday created, "Life to the Fullest," was CVS's first national campaign. It was designed to enhance the company's brand image as well as shift its marketing focus from products to consumer lifestyles. A budget was unavailable, but CVS typically spent about $35 million a year on advertising. Included in the campaign were television spots that aired on cable and network channels that had a large female audience. Print ads also appeared in People magazine, which had a high female readership. Both print ads and TV spots featured people in environments such as a living room, a restaurant, and a public restroom, but with store-aisle markers hanging over their heads that listed each person's recent purchases and the benefits of buying the items at a CVS store.

While the campaign failed to garner any industry awards, it did capture the attention of consumers. Following its launch CVS reported an 8.7 percent increase in sales over the previous year and a 73 percent jump in net income for the same time period. Hill Holliday's efforts on behalf of the drugstore chain were recognized by the magazine Advertising Age, which named the company one of its Advertising Agencies of the Year for 2002. Praise for the campaign also came from Adweek. The magazine described one television spot as a refreshing change from the routine "ho-hum" advertising in the retail-beauty-products segment.


When Ralph Hoagland and brothers Stanley and Sidney Goldstein opened the first CVS store in 1963 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the business offered busy consumers a one-stop shop for a variety of over-the-counter health-care products and beauty aids. Four years later the company added prescription drugs to its product mix when it opened pharmacies in its stores. By 1970 the chain had 100 stores serving customers throughout the northeastern United States. Without abandoning the vision of its

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founders, which was focused on meeting the needs of customers, the company began expanding. At the end of 1989 the chain reported 789 stores and sales of $1.95 billion. In the 1990s acquisitions and consolidations of small regional chains—including in 1990 the Peoples Drug Stores with 500 stores, in 1997 the Revco chain with 2,552 stores, and in 1998 Arbor Drugs with 207 stores—boosted CVS to the United States' number two drugstore chain in outlets and sales, behind Walgreens. In 1996 the chain changed its name to CVS Corporation. CVS was originally the acronym of the stores' name, Consumer Value Stores, but as the business evolved, company executives said that the CVS stood for...

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