How Tylenol is reintroducing itself to Chinese Canadians

The lead-up to Chinese New Year offers a chance to connect with consumers who might not recognize a familiar brand.

Johnson & Johnson is in the midst of trying to reconnect Chinese Canadians with the Tylenol brand through a campaign for its Tylenol Cold, Cough and Flu product.

Tylenol is an established brand in both China and Canada. However, the look of the brand is different in China, with slightly different packaging design and a trademark spelled out in Chinese characters. This leads some new Canadians to believe it’s not available here, with the company seeing purchase trends that suggest some Chinese travelers stock up on it in China and bring it back here.

“But one thing that is consistent is the base message and tone of the brand,” says Arielle Notte, associate brand manager for Tylenol at Johnson & Johnson Canada. “It’s all about making the most of moments that matter and not letting sickness get in the way of that. Because that is so consistent, it helps us really leverage our global assets.”

In new campaign videos, a daughter is on the phone with her mother who says she expects to not be able to make the family’s celebrations for Chinese New Year due to illness. The daughter encourages her mother to take her medicine, and the spot ends in both of her parents arriving at her door as a surprise.

The 15- and 30-second videos were deployed as YouTube preroll and on iTalkBB, a Chinese TV streaming service that uses forced preroll. The broader campaign, developed with digital agency One Method and in-house media agency J3, also included digital banners, in-store displays in neighbourhoods with high Chinese Canadian populations and ads with coupons running in Chinese language newspaper Sing Tao.

The campaign launched in December and will run until the end of February.

Some of the creative touches are meant to grab the attention of Chinese Canadians, such as emphasizing the eight cold and flu symptoms Tylenol Complete treats (eight being a number associated with wealth and good luck in Chinese numerology) and the colour red, already a major component of Tylenol’s branding and visual identity.

But Notte says one of the most important parts of the campaign is  itstiming around Chinese New Year, as it is a major celebration involving family gatherings that also happens to fall during cold and flu season. That gives the brand the opportunity to hit on both its primary messages.

“What makes Tylenol unique as a brand and what makes it especially impactful in cold and flu is it has this balanced positioning of being not only extremely efficacious, but it’s also a familial, caring brand,” she says. “[Chinese New Year is] a major family holiday, and when families get together, especially during this time of year, there can be illness, but you don’t want that to get in the way of a big celebration. It was a great fit for us.”