Walgreens’ Watts named to Product of the Year panel

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NEW YORK — Colin Watts, chief innovation officer at Walgreen Co., has been selected to chair the jury panel for the second annual Product of the Year USA Awards.

Watts, who also serves as the drug store chain’s vice president of new product development, will lead industry leaders, influencers and others on September 30 at the Gansevoort Hotel in New York for Product of the Year USA’s 2010 Jury Day. He and the panel will preview consumer packaged goods competing for the 2010 Product of the Year stamp of approval from U.S. shoppers, who choose the winning products.

"Product of the Year is an important symbol of innovation valued by brands, retailers and consumers alike," Watts said in a statement. "Innovation continues to be the driving force behind new product development highly sought by shoppers. As Walgreens continues to build our reputation as a source of innovative products and services, we are constantly looking for products that have been recognized as innovation leaders in their category."

Watts was appointed to his current post in June after joining Walgreens last December as a divisional vice president and president of Walgreens Health and Wellness Platforms.

Before coming over to the drug chain, Watts led the development of new product departments at Johnson & Johnson division McNeil Consumer Healthcare and at Campbell Soup Co. He also served as worldwide vice president at J&J’s McNeil Nutritionals, where he successfully launched new products — including making Splenda a leader in the sweetener category — and established a new nutritional health care platform. Before that, his background includes more than 10 years in marketing various consumer and health care brands.

“We are honored that Colin will be an integral part of the 2010 Product of the Year awards” commented Colleen Kelly, managing director of Product of the Year USA. “Colin’s expertise is unparalleled when it comes to innovation in consumer packaged goods. His involvement as jury chair will lend firsthand insight from a retailer’s perspective when this year’s competing products are reviewed."

The inaugural 2009 Product of the Year USA jury chair was Jen Klise, group manager of corporate innovation at discount chain Target Corp.

Product of the Year, in tandem global research firm TNS, will poll more than 100,000 U.S. consumers to determine the most innovative products in each category for the 2010 Product of the Year seal. Winners will be announced at the Product of the Year awards ceremony in January 2010 and will be able to use the Product of the Year logo for marketing initiatives.

Last year’s winners included Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Duracell, Oust, Pantene, Olay, Zyrtec, CoverGirl and SC Johnson, among others.



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