Advil displays its feats of strength

A new campaign for Cold & Sinus opts to focus on the power of the product instead of the struggles of illness.

A new campaign for Advil Cold & Sinus is using some larger-than-life shows of strength to break through during cold season.

In a pair of quirky 15-second spots created by Taxi, a muscle-bound strongman does things like arm wrestle an ogre with a single finger and bend steel beams into balloon animals. The video then cuts to a kitchen where we see the strongman was a just story used by a woman to describe how Advil Cold & Sinus’ strength would help with her husband’s sore throat and stuffy nose.

Jordan Doucette, CCO at Taxi, says research done during the development of the campaign suggested many consumers felt advertising in the cold and sinus category was predictable: focusing on a suffering sick person who suddenly becomes refreshed and healthy after taking some kind of remedy.

“We wanted to redefine what creative in this category might look like,” she says. “The message everyone who is sick wants to hear most is about strength. We could have made individual symptoms more of a focal point, because it does help with a sore throat, which no one really knows. But when you’re sick and looking at the wall of products, you just want to see something where you know that you’ll take it, it’ll work well and you’ll feel better.”

The two videos will be pushed through digital channels for the time. Doucette says developing the campaign with digital in mind is part of the reason for the slightly oddball sense of humour used to dramatize the concept of strength in the videos.

“We start in this dream world and then come back to reality, so we also had license to be more quirky at the start because we then go to a more real situation people can relate to,” Doucette says. “Because these were made for online, we needed to be more breakthrough so we would be noticed.”

Advil is a relatively recent client for Taxi, as it was previously one of the Pfizer brands handled by Y&R Toronto, which was absorbed by Taxi in 2015.