Robitussin eases consumer confusion with 'Simple Acts'

Pfizer's Robitussin brand is engaging consumers this winter with "100,000 Simple Acts of Relief," a 100-day campaign to uncomplicate cold and flu season.

Company: Pfizer/Robitussin
Campaign: 100,000 Simple Acts of Relief
Agency mix: Marina Maher Communications (PR); Tribal (digital); Circle One Marketing (promotions); Grey Group (advertising)
In-house brand team: Kristin Shea, franchise lead/respiratory; Sherry Polevoy, senior product manager; Sarah Amato, product manager
In-house comms team: Jody Cook, director of comms, consumer healthcare division; Kristy Parker, comms manager
Budget: $750,000-$950,000

Pfizer's Robitussin brand is engaging consumers this winter with "100,000 Simple Acts of Relief," a 100-day campaign to uncomplicate cold and flu season.

"We know it's very confusing for consumers to know the right cold remedy or cough medicine for their symptoms, so we're making that decision much easier," says Jody Cook, director of North American communications for Pfizer consumer healthcare.

To kick off the initiative, the brand's AOR for PR Marina Maher Communications created the Last Names Giveaway, which launched the same day as the campaign, October 24.

The program asks people with last names that sound like cold symptoms to submit their names to SimpleActsofRelief.com to win a coupon for a free bottle of Robitussin. The firm also facilitated a partnership for the giveaway with figure skater Peggy Fleming, whose surname sounds like phlegm.

"She's a perfect spokesperson because she has always needed to be healthy," says Michele Schimmel, MD at Marina Maher and account lead. "When you think of the Last Names Giveaway, it brings a smile to your face to hear her last name."

As of October 25, the Robitussin team began touring the US, setting up relief stations in communities and offering consumers comforting gestures, such as a cup of hot cocoa or a scarf. At the stations, as well as online, people can enter to win one of 100,000 prizes, including a $100,000 grand prize.

Robitussin has no Facebook or Twitter accounts, so it is leveraging Fleming's social media networks and reaching out to mommy and health and wellness bloggers to generate buzz.

Digital agency Tribal created the Simple Acts of Relief website, which includes videos of Fleming and commercials created by ad agency Grey Group. Robitussin also improved its Relief Finder mobile app, which launched last year. The free app helps consumers figure out what medicine to take based on symptoms.

"The brand wants to help and be a partner for the 'sick, but can't stop' person through the cold and flu season," Schimmel says. 

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