Excedrin empowered real migraine sufferers to stop hiding their migraines at work by giving them the tools they need to have conversations about their migraines and shed a light on the misconceptions through its campaign, Excedrin Works. The campaign freed sufferers from the stress and anxiety they feel about migraines in the workplace. The Excedrin Works integrated campaign made it possible for sufferers to share a glimpse of their migraine experiences with others. The conversation was amplified with the help of NASCAR driver and migraine sufferer, Danica Patrick, who shared stories about her personal and professional experiences with migraines. In addition, Dr. Elizabeth Seng, a clinical psychologist and expert, was available to discuss the science behind migraines, triggers and potential solutions.
Objective and Context:
America's 38 million migraine sufferers experience symptoms that interfere with their everyday lives, living with symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, visual disturbances, and intense pain. Unfortunately, migraines often show up in a place sufferers spend the most time: at work. In fact, workplace migraines are more prevalent than many other illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. In addition to the physical pain, migraines can take an emotional toll on sufferers, who often face bias in the workplace due to a lack of understanding about the condition.
As such, the Excedrin Works campaign sought to:
Excedrin needed to engage migraine sufferers whose migraines significantly impact their lives because they do not consistently respond well to treatment. They are mainly women ages 35-49 who hate the impact head pain has had on their personal and professional lives and are constantly forced to compromise or make sacrifices to their migraines. They try to live a life as much as possible even with frequent head pain sacrifices. Moreover, they don’t talk about their migraines at work because they’re afraid of being judged.
Through the use of real people, real stories and immersive 360° video technology, Excedrin fostered a deeper understanding of migraines by enabling non-suffering coworkers to walk in the shoes of a migraine sufferer.
Excedrin understands that physical and emotional pain from migraines is just part of the story. In addition to suffering from head pain, nausea, dizziness and visual symptoms such as auras and sensitivity to light, migraine sufferers may also face isolation, judgement, missed opportunities or even lost trust in the workplace.
Through storytelling and innovative technology, non-sufferers were able to experience the extreme challenges involved in working with migraine symptoms via two real workplace migraine scenarios: an EMT at the scene of an accident and a pastry chef in a busy restaurant kitchen. To complement this, Excedrin launched TV commercials and a hero video featuring these real-life sufferers along with a YouTube masthead, creating a digital event that helped spread mass awareness.
Overall Campaign Execution:
In 2016, Excedrin’s The Migraine Experience campaign used a migraine simulator to show what a migraine felt like and how they are so much more devastating than non-sufferers think, as well as how Excedrin is the only brand empathizing with the sufferers of this largely misunderstood and marginalized type of head pain.
The campaign successfully associated Excedrin as the empathetic expert in migraine/head pain relief, however the net effect on sales across the portfolio of Excedrin brands (Extra Strength, Migraine, Tension Headache and PM Headache) was Migraine stealing share from other Excedrin brands. Moreover, the expensive VR technology of The Migraine Experience made it difficult to democratize the experience for consumers.
With Excedrin Works, the company struck a stronger balance of the emotional and the drive to trial aspects of the campaign by including more direct product benefit and claim usage in the content, as well as retargeting efforts. The company also made the experience available to anyone, anywhere through 360 video and VR cardboards.
The company’s 360 video, accessible to anyone with a smartphone, allowed non-sufferers to experience migraine visual and sound-related symptoms first-hand. The videos, which featured real life depictions of an EMT and a pastry chef, provided a unique first person account of what sufferers experience when struck by a migraine. This ultimately fostered empathy for sufferers and positioned Excedrin as the brand that understands and relieves migraines.
To ensure that the videos reached masses and to ensure that the company were present where its consumers spend the most time (mobile), approximately 90 percent of the social paid media budget and 60 percent of digital was allocated to mobile. Excedrin also invited GSK employees, online and in town hall meetings, to interact with the 360 video and gain a better understanding of what these sufferers experience.
The 360 video was part of a cross-channel campaign that aimed to bring empathy and understanding to migraines in the workplace. The company’s use of 360 technology on mobile allowed for an even deeper understanding of what it is like to be a migraine sufferer as non-sufferers could experience simulated symptoms first-hand. All content was amplified with paid support to reach our target audience on both digital and social platforms.
Excedrin has high awareness (85 percent) and leads loyalty conversion (56 percent). However, driving trial (among non-users) was the company’s biggest issue. Consideration at 70 percent was lower than competitors like Tylenol, Advil, Aleve and private label. Excedrin needed to drive consumer consideration and trial of Excedrin Migraine by positioning Excedrin as the brand that understands migraine pain and brings sufferers much-needed relief and empathy. Through the use of real people, Excedrin fostered a deeper understanding of migraines by enabling non-suffering coworkers to walk in the shoes of a migraine sufferer.
The campaign saw a 41 percent lift in brand favorability among its target audience, exceeding Nielsen’s favorability benchmarks in all three categories (Pain reliever, Pharma, and Health/OTC). Excedrin hit its highest share, up more than 22 percent in sales (with category growth at 1 percent).
In addition to fueling real business results, the Excedrin Works campaign was covered everywhere from Sports Illustrated to People.com, driving nearly 400 million earned media impressions to date. The campaign hero video landed at #6 on AdAge’s viral video chart and received a total of 15.6 million views.
This resulted in a substantial conversation lift: a 300 percent increase in mentions of Excedrin and head pain. The following week, the YouTube Masthead garnered 300 million impressions, and a 13 percent engagement rate, the highest for any GSK Masthead. Branded Excedrin searches were up 38 percent versus the prior two-week period and overall migraine searches spiked 20 percent.
Additionally, nearly 40 percent of the total 15.6 million hero video views were driven by consumers sharing and earned coverage, further demonstrating that Excedrin Works successfully inspired a conversation around better understanding of migraines in the workplace.