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Super Bowl

Your Shot: How an Amusing Piece of Insight Informed This Pharmaceutical Super Bowl Ad

RB’s Brian Dolan and McCann’s Tom Murphy on discovering that one in five Americans had skipped work the Monday after the Big Game

Your Shot: How an Amusing Piece of Insight Informed This Pharmaceutical Super Bowl Ad

Super Bowl Sunday is a day filled with food, beer, elation and / or heartache. All of which can be conducive to feeling a little tender the morning after. With that in mind, American healthcare brand Mucinex has used an amusing bit of insight to lead its Super Bowl campaign. Created with McCann New York and McCann Humancare, the research found that one in five Americans claimed that they have previously missed work the Monday after the Big Game. Additionally (and perhaps unsurprisingly), 25% feel that the Monday after the Big Game should be considered a national holiday.

LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with Brian Dolan, senior brand manager at RB (the pharmaceutical company who own Mucinex) and Tom Murphy, co-creative officer at McCann New York to find out more. 


LBB> The insight to this campaign is brilliant - what did the research entail and what did you discover along the way?

Brian Dolan> We began with what we call a truth hunt, to learn about relevant cultural trends and behaviours during cold and flu season that we could use as a jumping off point. We discovered that the day after the Super Bowl has historically been the #1 day of the year for Americans to call in sick… but the interesting thing we all know, is that many of those people may not actually be sick. It turns out people see the Super Bowl as an outlet for their winter blues so they give themselves permission to let loose. Unfortunately they also have to work the next day. That tension really sparked our campaign and was too good to pass up.

LBB> Were there any discoveries that particularly surprised you?

BD> Through our research we found that many people expressed a desire or wish to take the day off… even fantasised about what they would do if they could take that time for themselves. Our data revealed 25% of people feel that the Monday after the Big Game should be considered a national holiday.

LBB> Did the data lead to this campaign or did the idea lead to the research? Can you give some background on how it came to be?

BD> The data led to the insight, but the real challenge was identifying how the brand can pay it off. How does a brand that stands for relentlessly fighting sickness deal with a faked sickness? For us, it was about giving Mucinex a meaningful role in the charade. We use humour to give a wink to the behavior, but quickly remind the audience that they should be using Mucinex when they’re actually sick.  

LBB> Is this concept of pulling a sick day after the Super Bowl quite commonly known in the US already?

BD> When people hear the statistic, they usually understand and laugh right away. But few people seem to know that it is the number one sick day of the entire year. 

LBB> An interesting part of this campaign is the tongue-in-cheek, comedic approach for a medical brand - why does it work for Mucinex and what does it say about it as a company do you think?

BD> We have been using humour as a point of difference for several years in a category that many consumers feel is boring and traditional. This has played a big role in our 15-year trajectory from 2003 category entrant to the largest OTC brand of any kind in dollar sales today. As far as the Super Bowl, we felt that a playful wink to the cultural phenomenon of calling in sick would be a memorable way to remind people to take Mucinex when they are actually sick. The leadership at RB has been very supportive of our approach, understanding that humour is part of our brand DNA, and that the campaign is still rooted in a belief that Mucinex provides relief when you need it most. 

LBB> You’ve launched the spot prior to the game - what was the thinking behind this and why do you think more and more brands are opting for this approach?

BD> We wanted the idea of Super Sick Monday to have maximum cultural relevance and felt that releasing the ad a few days early would help start a conversation and build awareness. Planning for the Super Bowl happens well before game day, from recipes and party planning to even taking time off on Monday. It made sense to tap into the pre-game mindset and tease the work early.

LBB> What were the trickiest components when developing this campaign and how did you overcome them?

Tom Murphy> Making sure the brand had a role. The insight that people fake sick the day after the big game is great. But we needed to tell the story in a way that was ownable to Mucinex. This is how we landed on the logic, “Enjoy your sick day, America. When you’re really sick take Mucinex.” It also helps that everyone in the States is familiar with the gross little booger antihero, Mr. Mucus. We decided that he should be kind of offended by the realisation that a lot of people aren’t actually sick on that day. He takes sickness really seriously.

LBB> The biggie – have you ever pulled a sicky post-Super Bowl?

BD> My interview for this job was at 9am on the morning after the Super Bowl. I’m glad I didn’t pull one that day. I think the best I’ve done is a late start, but after all the work this year, maybe Monday is a good time to start.

Category: E-cigarette , Pharmacy

Genre: Animation , Storytelling , Strategy/Insight