Monday, April 19, 2010

Waiting for the NyQuil to Work, Think About the Advertising.

Cold-sufferers of America know this brand: Vicks® NyQuil® cold and flu liquid from Proctor and Gamble. Over 40 years old and still going strong, “the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best sleep you ever got with a cold...medicine” works a treat.

It’s my OTC weapon of choice when I need cold relief (which I do this week, seriously). I like it and buy it and use it even though it is one of America’s most commercial brands. Even though a 2007 article in Wired notes that it’s “fortified with powerful narcotics.” Or maybe because of those legal narco-substances.

NyQuil is strong medicine. You know just how strong it is when a comedian like Denis Leary riffed, “I took a NyQuil five years ago and I just came out of the coma tonight before the fucking show.” The brand has its own Facebook app, NyQuil Nation. Right now it’s showing actual photos of NyQuil users sleeping; more than 10,000 people have signed up for a chance as some swag.

The brand constantly re-invents itself through promotion and advertising. I’m particularly sensitive to the headline on the latest sleepers campaign – like the one called “Joe” above: For a Better-Looking Tomorrow. Publicis New York has the NyQuil advertising duties business these days and as far as I’m concerned the company nailed the human condition, whether the ads show Joe, Gary, Theo or Apolo Ohno (sure, the Olympic speed skater – it’s perfect!).

So contemplate the Publicis ad campaign credits: Chief Creative Officer: Rob Feakins; Executive Creative Director: Joe Johnson; Art Director: Dave Hermanas; Copywriter: Dafna Garber; Art Buyer: Samantha Jaffoni. Evocative advertising deserves a drink – of NyQuil.

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