Virtual reality has spawned the phenomenon of “VR sickness,” characterized by people who use VR and subsequently feel nauseous or have headaches. Excedrin is betting people will come for the headaches.
The new “Excedrin Works” campaign uses VR in two videos to share real-life stories of migraine sufferers at work. From the migraine sufferers’ vantage points, viewers experience the symptoms of their migraines from blurry vision to flashing lights.
“In speaking to consumers about migraines and headaches, something that always seems to come up is that folks feel very misunderstood; they feel very alone,” said Scott Yacovino, senior brand manager at Excedrin. “With this technology, we can cater to the emotional side in a way [Excedrin], and quite frankly any brand, has never been able to do before.”
In one video, a chef named Sara works a typical shift at her restaurant. Through her eyes, viewers can see waiters rushing around with dishes and hear orders being yelled across the room and chefs confronting each other about timing. All of a sudden, a migraine strikes. White flashes of light penetrate the frame, the picture blurs, voices seem farther away and yellow and red lines race across the video. In the other, an EMT arrives at a car crash but cannot work due to a migraine, as blaring sirens and flashing lights merge. These videos, created in conjunction with Weber Shandwick and production studio Hogarth, live on Excedrin.com and Excedrin’s YouTube channel.
This kind of empathetic storytelling boosts Excedrin’s brand purpose and can drive sales, said Yacovino. The strategy is clear: Excedrin wants people, and especially migraine sufferers’ families, to realize the severity of migraines, so they understand the need to purchase the medicine.
VR is an expensive form of storytelling. A Forrester report found that to create a high-quality VR experience, a brand would have to spend at least $500,000, and for a 360-degree video alone, the cost could fall between $10,000 and $100,000. Combine this with another finding from the report that 42 percent of adults in the U.S. have never heard of VR headsets, and it’s easy to see why brands might avoid VR.
Excedrin did not specify exactly how much it spends on VR, but Yacovino said the technology is more accessible now than ever, noting VR is evolving quickly and appearing in entertainment and video games. However, he said a brand should not create a VR experience just for the sake of venturing into the medium.
“The technology is great,” said Yacovino, “but only if serves a brand purpose. We used this technology because we felt it was the most lifelike way to bring these migraine experiences to life, and we are equally committed to driving empathy and understanding as we are bringing fantastic products to people.”
Excedrin isn’t completely relying on the VR films for its campaign. To supplement these videos, three documentary-style videos that run on social and TV tell the stories of other migraine sufferers at work. The brand is also working with race car driver Danica Patrick to share her history of migraines on social media and in videos.
This is not the first time Excedrin has experimented with new technologies to connect with consumers. The brand started toying with the idea of producing a VR campaign around a year ago after a successful run of its “Migraine Experience” campaign, which leveraged augmented reality technology. The “Migraine Experience” ran online in April 2016 and allowed users to experience migraines’ excruciating symptoms through filters layered in the world around them. Excedrin also created testimonial-style videos to supplement the AR campaign. The campaign saw nearly 400,000 social engagements, and the testimonial videos garnered nearly 4 million views. This time around, the brand expects even more attention, said Yacovino, because VR adds an extra storytelling layer.
A look at Coke’s World Cup marketing strategy with senior marketing exec Javier Meza
Many of the world's most influential brands are competing to win over consumers while Qatar hosts the World Cup. One such brand is Coca-Cola.
Member ExclusiveFuture of TV Briefing: TikTok’s other creator monetization program
This week’s Future of TV Briefing looks at the role TikTok's Branded Missions program plays in keeping creators on the platform as YouTube readies its short-form video revenue-sharing program.
How Philadelphia Cream Cheese is finding its place on Reddit
Hoping to tap into honest, authentic conversations, Philadelphia Cream Cheese is investing in Reddit ads for the first time.
SponsoredPublishers are adapting advertising strategies for a privacy-first world
Tina Iannacchino, senior publisher director, Seedtag So much of the attention around the death of third-party cookies and its impact on the digital advertising industry is focused on the implications for brands and consumers, which is far from the complete picture. The digital publishing industry in the U.S. is massive and set to be shaken […]
Why Tractor Supply Company made its TV ad to look like TikTok
Tractor Supply Company, a retailer founded in 1938, is using 100% of its marketing spend for this quarter on Paramount's TV channel. The company's new "TikTok style ad," debuted on the premiere of Yellowstone on Nov. 13, is part of a push to build brand awareness.
As purpose-driven ads face challenges this holiday, could podcasting provide a lift?
Purpose-driven marketing may face growing challenges this year as consumers wrestle with inflation and the ad market gets more competitive.