27 Dec

Cough Drop Marketing Gone Very Very Wrong

By Erika Turan, APR

Senior Account Executive

Achoo! It’s cold and flu season. Despite my affinity for hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, I recently caught a wicked cold.

(Disclaimer: I’m a trooper, relatively speaking. I’m fortunate not to get sick all that often, and when I do get sick, I try to bounce back quickly).

But, this cold knocked me on my keister for a couple of days. The worst was the cough. Oh, the stupid, unnecessary cough.

So, I turned to my old reliable, Halls cough drops. “Soothing, mentholated action.” Oh, yeah.

But, seems that Halls has succumbed (poorly) to brand personalization. Each little drop’s wrapper is now emblazoned with the trademarked, “A PEP TALK IN EVERY DROP.”

I am picturing the meeting where this idea was born: “We need to connect with our customers! They need to hear our voice when they pop a lozenge in our mouths! But how to do it?? I know! Let’s do like Dove chocolates, and put a message on each lozenge!”

So here are a sampling of the very unfortunately selected messages. Because I do not need a pep talk when I have a cold. When I have a cold, I feel like doo doo. I would like empathy. Perhaps a little sympathy. Some comforting. I am not going to die of a cold, and I don’t need a cheerleader telling me I’ll defeat it.

1.     “You’ve survived tougher.” Oh really? How would you know that? Maybe this cold is the worst thing I’ve faced. And even if it isn’t, don’t patronize me.

2.     “Don’t waste a precious minute!” I am not wasting any minutes. I am attempting to give my poor body enough rest so that the white blood cells can do their job.

3.     “Get back in the game.” No one wants me in the game right now. I am contagious, and of very little practical help to anyone.

4.     “Take charge and mean it.” I got no sleep last night, my kids need to be cared for, I can’t smell anything, and can barely be held responsible for blowing my nose into a tissue.  I’m not taking charge of anything.

5.     “Don’t give up on yourself.” I’m not giving up on myself. I simply have a cold, and that takes a couple of days to recuperate from.

6.     “Fire up those engines!” Are you kidding me?

So, dear Halls, if I may suggest, perhaps some messages like this would be better:

1.     “Sorry you’re not feeling well.”

2.     “Grab a blanket and cuddle up.”

3.     “Wash those hands.”

4.     “Feel better soon.”




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