There are a number of potential competitors to VIraGuard and all of them are incumbent, proven birth control solutions in the market. Furthermore, many of these solutions allow the woman to make her own decision in preventing unplanned birth without any input from her partner. In today’s post, I will be evaluating Merck’s messaging for their vaginal ring, known by the market name “NuvaRing®”.


Merck does a very good job of describing the purpose and benefits of its NuvaRing® offering. It’s target market are non-smoking, younger (under 35) women in good health (especially without any vascular issues) who want control of unplanned pregnancy. They go onto say, in a clearly marked section of their website, that NuvaRing® is a monthly contraceptive that takes the shape of a small, flexible vaginal ring. Once inserted, you leave NuvaRing® in for three weeks until menstruation, where you take it out for the duration of menstruation and then insert a new ring.


Merck is positioning NuvaRing® as delivering the same level of contraception benefit (less than 1% failure rate) as the pill but with the benefit that you don’t have to take NuvaRing® every day, like you do the pill. In their “How It Works” section, they further appeal to their target consumer by noting that NuvaRing delivers the same type and level of hormones as the pill but without the inconvenience of taking it each day. This is especially effective as women who are new to NuvaRing® could be concerned that after finding a birth control pill that works for them, they could have problems with a new type of birth control drug. However, as Merck notes, it’s the same type and dosage of drug with the same level of effectiveness. Merck proceeds to compare NuvaRing® to all other types of birth control on the attribute of dosing frequency, where it excels compared to most other options.


Merck completes its review by helping potential customers currently using other forms of birth control identify the steps in getting started with NuvaRing®. They pick the most likely transition candidates of the pill, patch, and IUD and walk through the necessary steps to successfully transition. Additionally, they also attract users who currently aren’t using birth control (for a variety of reasons) by providing steps to starting NuvaRing® for the first time. Overall, Merck is incredibly helpful in stating the most important benefits to their target consumer and then providing additional context during the potential consumer’s decision.

– John Downey


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