Gay Lea



In 2007, odds were that any customer who was prepared to treat a serious allergic reaction was packing an EpiPen®. The brand dominated its market.

But, thousands of people who were prone to potentially deadly anaphylactic allergic reactions carried nothing at all. EpiPen® came to Fresh Squeezed Ideas to figure out how to reach the non-participating section of their market.

As we began collecting learnings to drive out Breakout strategy model, we learned a few things:

First: Fear tactics weren’t working. Comparing anaphylaxis to shark attacks or natural disasters, for instance, simply did not resonate – not only was it not sufficient to get them to change their behavior, but it served to reinforce denial as a means to reduce their fear.

The explanation for customers’ reactions was revealed by exploring fear-related cultural forces.

Far from being spurred to action, people with life-threatening allergies are actually paralyzed by fear. They simply rationalize away the risks.

Among early adults, this rationalization is powered by the need to create a self-identity that is untarnished, fully capable and productive. Early adulthood also happens to be the exact age when EpiPen® ownership drops off.

We told the client, “No amount of education will change their minds to suddenly embrace EpiPens®. your target market will endlessly resist against fear tactics.”

Instead, we recommended a solution that respected the patients’ fear, but delivered the key messages a different way: with humor.


As a result of their willingness to understand and tap into cultural forces, EpiPen was able to assemble a go-to-market strategy that aligned the organization, their customers and ultimately drove a 100% increase in their business.