Tylenol Cold & Flu’s modern family

Its "For What Matters Most" campaign features a common family structure that's almost never seen in ads.

Tylenol has renewed its campaign for its Cold & Flu line as winter approaches to show it can help you live moments with the people most important in your life, no matter who that may be.

A new spot by J. Walter Thompson Canada starts like the Tylenol ad we might expect as part of its “For What Matters Most” campaign. A guy needs to get on with something in his day (in this case, preparing his home for someone about to come over), only to suddenly show symptoms of a cold. He turns to Tylenol Cold to help him power through and live his life like normal, but a slight twist comes when it’s revealed who has shown up at the door.

The spot, which debuted earlier this fall, will air across Canada until the end of March. Media buying was handled by J3, Johnson & Johnson’s dedicated media group, within UM.

Leslie Chan, brand manager for Tylenol at Johnson & Johnson Canada, says the “For What Matters Most” platform that launched globally for its Cold & Flu line last year has made family the centrepiece of the campaign, as it’s a “universal” thing everyone can relate to.

“No matter what the family structure and circumstances, there are going to be hurdles to overcome in order to step up to the plate and take care of your family,” Chan says, adding the spot also reflects one of the brand’s main targets. “[Showing families] hasn’t always been consistent as the creative device we used, but I think as we look forward, and knowing who the shoppers of the household are, it’s more overt now in who we are targeting.”

That’s also part of the reason the new spot features a divorced couple, a family structure common in society but rarely represented in ads. While the spot isn’t meant to focus entirely on the family structure, the brand is aiming for the message of the campaign to be as universal as possible.

“We understand that families look different and that actually ladders back up to the campaign,” Chan says. “‘What Matters Most’ is going to look different for everyone, especially in Canada, so the campaign needs to be a celebration of diversity.”

Chan says the cold and flu category is becoming increasingly competitive, with traditional competitors and new options in alternative medicine.

“A lot of the ads in the space are more functional, showing relief to continue with responsibilities or things you need to do that are work-related,” she says. “We’re excited about this approach because it’s less about taking the medicine and championing through your day and more about taking the medicine so you can enjoy more special moments in your life.”

Chan adds that early indicators for the spot are positive, and the brand has seen some of its strongest growth since it launched.