Inside Mucinex's transformation campaign

The OTC brand has been "fearlessly testing" new social media platforms, such as TikTok.

PARSIPPANY, NJ: Over-the-counter cold and flu brand Mucinex is embracing innovation and new technologies to make its image more culturally relevant. 

"Mucinex is a heritage brand known for its efficacy," said Lynn Kenney, North America head of corporate communications for Mucinex parent Reckitt Benckiser. "While the brand is currently strong, it is mostly associated with mucus and has historically been viewed functionally. What the brand is endeavoring to do is elevate itself into more of an iconic, culturally relevant brand." 

Although Mucinex has been a "power" brand for a long time, it can’t be complacent, said the brand’s head of innovation Imran Yousuf. 

"Consumers today expect big brands to innovate on all fronts, with their product, their marketing and their sustainability efforts," he said. "Our aim is to exceed those expectations on all fronts."  

Kenney added that the brand team has been "fearlessly testing" innovations.

In terms of marketing, the brand is turning to new social media platforms. In October, Mucinex became the first OTC brand to activate on TikTok, with the #TooSickToBeSick challenge. The campaign capitalized on the popular transformation-based challenge format and encouraged users to go from being "too sick" to "so sick" in support of the new Mucinex Nightshift product.  

The campaign launched in partnership with four TikTok influencers, who each had a unique style with highly engaged audiences, explained Kenney. The challenge garnered 741,351,813 views.

"This exceeded our expectations and we are looking forward to partnering with TikTok again," Kenney said. 

Shortly after the TikTok challenge ended, Mucinex executed the #WakeUpHumanDebate in which a mock debate took place between "zombies," who were arguing for their right to feel sick, and the fictitious agency Center for Population Sickness. The debate took place in New York City’s Oculus and featured appearances by actor Jason Biggs and the brand mascot Mr. Mucus.

"The debate managed to land branded coverage in entertainment and lifestyle media outlets like People, Us Weekly and Elle, which would not traditionally have covered the brand," said Kenney.

Mucinex has brought on Lippe Taylor to handle integrated comms for the brand in partnership with creative agency McCann as part of a transformation effort. Lippe Taylor worked on the #TooSickToBeSick and #WakeUpHumanDebate campaigns. 

"Lippe Taylor is currently working with us [these projects] for Mucinex in the US and has done work for us with other brands — past, present and future," said Kenney.

Lippe Taylor started working with Mucinex after the brand issued an RFP in mid-July seeking a US PR agency for an account worth seven figures. U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser, whose brands also include disinfectant Lysol, condom brand Durex, infant formula products and cleaning brands Resolve and Woolite, reported a net revenue increase of 5.3% in Q3.

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