Brand: Theraflu (Novartis)
Link: Click Here – it is the sixth spot entitled “Flu Monster”
Target: desperately seeking Kleenex
A businessman slowly enters his office, moaning and sniffling. As we see his face we realize that his head has blown up to surreal, Lord of the Rings proportions. His coworkers move out of his way in dismay as he makes his way to his desk, staring at him with concern and trying not to touch him. The only background noise is slow, soothing music. Then the businessman pours a pouch of Theraflu Severe Cold into hot water from the cooler and he returns to normal. “Warm, Soothing Relief” comes up on the screen followed by the Theraflu logo and the tagline “Good to be back.” The spot ends with a shot of the businessman in his office surrounded by two happy co-workers who proceed to drop a pile of work for him on his desk.
This ad is very soothing. The music, camera work, pacing and acting all give us the visceral feeling of the end benefit Theraflu is trying to achieve – relief. The color palate is a washed out mix of blues and grays which also put us at our ease. There is no dialogue in this spot so our attention is focused on the slow-moving businessman and his pace and the slow pace of the music lulls us. All in all, Saatchi has done an excellent job of finding the rhythm of both a severe cold and the relief we hope for when we have one.
As lovely as it looks, this spot is not effective advertising. Here are the issues by the numbers:
- Pacing – The slow pace of this spot does a very good job of putting us in the shoes of a cold sufferer. If we stick around to watch us. Unfortunately, in our post-MTV, 180 channel, TiVo-licious world it is very likely that most of us will have flicked on before we adjust to the stately pace of this spot.
- Brand Recognition – For those who do watch the spot, the central conceit of turning a cold-sufferer into a Troll is far more memorable than the Theraflu brand which only makes its appearance more than halfway into the spot. The product may be the hero in this spot but it barely registers in our Starbuck’s-amped psyche.
- Brand Position Ownability – Of course, if we did watch the entire spot and manage to remember Theraflu there is the question of what the real brand proposition might be. We certainly understand that Theraflu offers relief, but how is it different from other cold remedies? Why might we want to use it instead of a more familiar alternative? And why should we believe this? Both the meaningful difference and the permission to believe are missing from this spot. And this Advertising Blog cannot recommend a spot without a complete selling proposition.
Branding Bottom Line:
We enjoyed this Theraflu spot so much we ran out to rent Lord of the Rings.