An advert that’s giving me a headache

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When I saw a particular advert this morning, I was tempted for the first time in my adult life to vandalise a poster. If, like me, you’re a bored train commuter, perhaps you recognise the following:

“This is for those who take their own route. The ones whose spirits can’t be dampened, even by the rain. For the ones on a constant journey. For those who try, try again. This is for those who live by the saying ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.”

Can you work out what this advert is selling? Possibly a backpacking holiday somewhere cool and exotic like Brazil or Thailand? Or maybe a shiny new 4×4, perfect for offroad trekking?

Or maybe glorified ibuprofen. That’s right, this is the latest advert for the irritatingly-spelled Nurofen. So what’s my problem with it? Mostly I think they’re kind-of overreaching a bit. Their tagline for the campaign is “for lives bigger than pain”, but what they really mean is “for headaches”.

Nurofen’s Facebook page is filled with stories of people bravely taking their own decisions, living life to the full etc. I guess when you’re competing with every generic manufacturer out there, you’re forced to try to differentiate yourself somehow. That said, I can’t help but feel that the “normal” approach to selling drugs – sciencey words and images or maybe before-and-afters – is more effective than desperately wishy-washy life-affirming claptrap.

In fact, maybe there’s room in the market for a new drug that takes the Ronseal approach – “Headache pills. For when you have headaches. Take two with water and your headache will stop.” At least that advert wouldn’t give me a headache!

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