Pushing Pills (Caffeine Pills)

A landscape study to create a market for Caffeine Pills in Malaysia

Readily available in beverages like coffee and tea, in over-the-counter supplements and in nutrition products, caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world.

Caffeine pills (CPs) are caffeine in its purest form. Compared to other sources of caffeine, they’re easy to consume, effective and cost-efficient. But few Malaysians know of or opt for caffeine pills. So, the question posed to us by a US-based caffeine supplement company was how to create a market for caffeine pills in Malaysia?

What do we know?

It’s important for any brand proposal to be anchored on real facts about the current industry landscape. To create a local market for CPs, we needed to first understand how CPs were being used and why.

The first step was to conduct detailed analysis on the overall industry landscape. As caffeine is a stimulant, it was important to understand the medical issues around the use of CPs so we first looked into the health benefits and criticisms around caffeine and CPs. Then, we wanted to understand why people use CPs; we studied online reviews of CP brands, focusing on what consumers had to say about their experiences (both positive as well as negative) with CPs. We also examined the top CP brands, looking into why they were the best compared to others and what people had to say about them.

It turns out that while many CPs are marketed as supplements for exercise, most consumers take them as substitutes for coffee or energy drinks or just as a general energy boost both at home and the workplace.

Matching it to the local context.

The landscape analysis told us what people around the world use CPs for. But marketing efforts are the most useful when anchored in the local context. Therefore, the next step was to bring the focus back home and understand what people here think of CPs.

From the previous round of research, we knew that despite the benefits, CPs remain one of the least popular methods of consuming caffeine and are virtually unknown in the Malaysian market. But we took it a step further and asked real Malaysians what they thought about caffeine and CPs.

With so many people on the internet today, a survey was the best way to get a wide range of opinions from different types of people. We received responses from young, working professionals as well as retirees. The survey confirmed that most Malaysians have not heard about CPs, but it also showed that a significant percentage of people were eager to give CPs a try hence proving that there is a market for CPs in Malaysia.