ColdFX prepares for cold and flu season

The rebranding campaign has a significantly larger media buy than previous years, as the brand tries to rebuild following negative press last year on CBC's Marketplace.

ColdFX is gearing up for cold and flu season and looking to help consumers get prepared to face it in a new two-pronged campaign with creative by John St and media by Toronto-based Active Media.

The first phase of the campaign, which is targeted at adults aged 24 to 49, is called “It’s Coming” and will run throughout the fall season, with the most ad dollars going towards TV buys on conventional and specialty channels like CTV, City, Food Network and HGTV, and digital pre-roll on the digital properties for the TV channels, as well as on sites like and

The 15-second spots are set on a crowded bus and depict people giving their fellow passengers suspicious looks as they worry about catching a cold or the flu.

The campaign also includes print spots in commuter papers like Metro and a focus on both traditional OOH and location-specific ads in crowded areas like buses, subways and office elevators.

Mark Graham, account supervisor, John. St, says that the ad spend for this new campaign is significantly larger than the brand’s other efforts in recent years, as ColdFX is attempting to rebrand itself following a segment on CBC’s Marketplace last year that questioned the effectiveness of its products. He adds that this campaign is the primary marketing push for the brand this year, but that ColdFX will likely roll out some in-store initiatives as well as events that leverage its ties to athletes and hockey (Don Cherry was the brand’s spokesperson until a few years ago).

Graham says the campaign and its focus on location-specific OOH advertising is about making ColdFX’s message more relevant to consumers when they feel most vulnerable about getting sick, and also an attempt by the brand to better reflect the realities of cold and flu season.

The campaign will be in market through the winter, with the second phase called “It’s Here” rolling out in the next couple of months.