Excedrin's survival guide for a headache at work

The campaign builds off of last year's Excedrin Migraine Experience, where the friends and family of migraine sufferers could experience their migraine symptoms

Excedrin's survival guide for a headache at work

Brand: Excedrin
Owner: GlaxoSmithKline
Campaign: Excedrin Works
Agencies/Partners: Weber Shandwick, PHD Media, Epsilon
Duration: September 2017, ongoing

Having a normal headache while working can be distracting, but Excedrin wants to show people how a dealing with a migraine at work can be so much more difficult in its latest campaign, Excedrin Works. 

The campaign builds off of last year’s Excedrin Migraine Experience, where the friends and family of migraine sufferers could experience their migraine symptoms, like visual aura, sensitivity to light and sound, and dizziness, in augmented reality. 

This year, Excedrin Works is moving the discussion to migraines at work, which can be extremely disruptive to one’s ability to work and are often misunderstood by coworkers and bosses. 

The campaign follows the experiences of an EMT, pastry chef, and interpreter as they deal with migraines during work hours and try to explain what it feels like to their coworkers and family with the help of virtual reality and 360 degree video. 

"Virtual reality is the ultimate empathy engine," says Scott Yacovino, Excedrin senior brand manager. "We could replicate the symptoms in a very real way and allow a non-sufferer to experience what a sufferer actually goes through. It's a tremendous tool that can drive these points across like no other creative medium. You can talk about it or have really compelling copy, but VR and AR allow somebody to actually experience it through their own eyes." 

The Excedrin team brought on racecar driver Danica Patrick, also a migraine sufferer, to help promote the campaign. The idea is if Patrick, a trailblazer in racing, can talk openly about her migraines, then the average sufferer may feel more empowered to talk about their struggle with the condition. 

Excedrin has learned from its consumers that people with migraines often feel misunderstood when it comes to the condition. Migraines and headaches also tend to have a stigma, Yacovino says. People who don’t suffer from them often think sufferers are weak - an issue each of the videos in Excedrin Works touches on. 

To help combat this, Excedrin developed a guide for talking about migraines at work with a psychologist whose specialty is head pain, along with a survival kit for how to deal with migraine pain and symptoms. 

"It’s basically like a migraine survival kit and discussion guide that gives them the tools they need, not only to treat migraines, but also to approach the subject," Yacovino says. "[The psychologist] helped us create a very useable guide for people as a resource to help them navigate those discussions at work. They can be tricky." 

Yacovino hopes the campaign will help foster a stronger relationship between migraine sufferers and Excedrin as a brand. The feedback the campaign has seen has been positive, he added, with people praising Excedrin for bringing more awareness to migraines and helping people who don’t get them better understand migraines. 

"Obviously we offer a very efficacious product, but there's another element of the treatment," Yacovino said. "We realized there’s an emotional element and a support element. We’re trying to provide the full toolkit to consumers and patients. That's the most important thing, offering 360 support beyond the the product."

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