Wednesday, February 20, 2008

OTC Cold Symptom Remedies

I am such a believer in the power of positive thinking to stave off the onset of colds and flu or to reduce the severity of both that I find it difficult to believe that not a single otc cold symptom relief brand harnesses the power of positive thinking in its ads. "Here is the brand that gives you a better outlook on things, a better attitude." Now the lawyers would say that couldn't be done. They said the same thing when we devised Folger's, "The best part of waking up is caffienne in your cup." The censors said we couldn't sell a drug so we simply replaced the word 'caffienne' with the word 'Folgers'. Heavy ground roast coffee consumers related and drove the brand to number one. But I know why the otc companies really don't want to more substantively differentiate their product from rival's. They don't want to take the time or spend the money to do the homework. They feel their advertising agency should do this for free - which they do - but they do it without doing any homework opting instead to sit around and brainstorm in their office the old-fashioned Darren Stevens way on Bewitched. Categories and their customers have become too sophisticated for that, yet the commodity symptom relief advertising persists year after year and brand positions remain unchanged as greedy CEOs await the next technological breakthrough to drive their business forward. Why not just do the homework and get the job done now? Instead, next season we just might see an ad agency making Samantha Steven's infamous nose wiggle the trademark of their client's advertising. Different ways of handling itchy drippy noses. Wouldn't Tabatha's nose wiggle be cute?

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