Excedrin: It’s Game Over for Headaches


Campaign Summary

As a 60-year-old brand, Excedrin set out to drive awareness among people between the ages of 18 and 24, as well as build consideration of Excedrin to treat gaming-related headaches.



Excedrin identified an opportunity to increase household penetration with a new, younger demographic by targeting an explosive-growth audience: gamers. This audience was suffering from headaches that were ultimately preventing them from doing what they love most — gaming — and presented an unmet need.

Target Audience:

In 2019, Excedrin discovered that 7.3 million people between the ages of 18 and 24 — or 26 percent of the entire age group in America — game for more than five hours a week. Since then, gaming activity has jumped to all-new highs during the pandemic. Through social listening, Excedrin uncovered insights around how gaming has an immense impact on both the body and the mind, creating the ultimate gamers' paradox.

Headaches have the power to take gamers out of the game, but everything about gaming can actually cause headaches: hours in front of a screen, adrenaline-inducing environments, and sacrificing sleep and regular meals. Less than half of gamers actually treat their symptoms, which means headaches that have the power to take gamers away from what they love — or worse, gamers playing through the pain at the risk of their health.

However, Excedrin also knows it is open to treating gamers' headaches, according to Simmons, and gamers are 16 percent more likely to use head pain medication as sleep aids.

With the "Game Over for Headaches" campaign, Excedrin set out to be an ally for gamers — to help them keep their heads in the game so they can battle more important foes.


Creative Strategy:

Excedrin brought this campaign to life through several key pillars. First, the company conducted a brand-owned study to validate the relationship of gaming and headaches, and to prove out methods designed to help reduce the risk of headaches, improve focus, and optimize performance.

In addition, Excedrin collaborated with experts in the space — Ph.D.s in neuroscience, professional esports coaches, clinical psychologists, and professional and amateur gamers — to design and test a mindful gaming routine in a live environment through exposed/control groups.

Additionally, Excedrin partnered with Matthew Haag, AKA "Nadeshot" — an influential streamer, as well as CEO and founder of the esports collective and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves. He helped humanize the study by sharing his personal experiences with gaming-related headaches with the media, as well as his millions of fans on social media and Twitch. By socializing and employing the mindful gaming routine, he has also helped others reduce their own risk of headaches.

Excedrin also created owned assets for online video, display, and social, all grounded in gaming culture. By adopting the Healer, an underrepresented character class in gaming that enables team members to stay in the game, the brand was able to tell its story in a way that inherently resonated with gamers.

The Excedrin Healing Academy — six diverse healers each tied to a specific headache trigger — helped tell the brand story through engaging video content. Excedrin also launched the first OTC partnership with Twitch, the world's largest video game streaming platform, where the original content was further distributed via an influencer program consisting of 12 influential streamers.


This is the first year of "Game Over for Headaches," and marks the first time Excedrin has marketed directly to this younger audience. As the premier head pain expert for more than 60 years, Excedrin is on a mission to relieve head pain wherever it exists.

To deliver fast relief to help gamers keep their heads in the game, Excedrin designed an integrated program that would speak to gamers directly and help them deal with the ever-present headache triggers within gaming. These triggers were heightened as the program launched against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a universal increase in screen exposure due to quarantine restrictions.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Due to quarantine restrictions during the pandemic, the average time spent on mobile in the US in 2020 increased by over 30 minutes per day according to eMarketer. With this in mind, and in targeting a highly engaged and digital-savvy Gen Z audience, a mobile-first approach was crucial to this campaign with 58.8 percent of online video impressions and 99 percent of social media impressions delivered through mobile.

Mobile Execution:

To effectively reach gamers where they are already engaged across their devices, the brand focused its efforts on a high-impact partnership with Twitch. In 2020, the streaming platform experienced an average of 30 million daily visitors and generated over 22 million app downloads in Q1 2021.

The partnership program was robust, and initiatives ranged from multiple homepage highlights to sponsored livestreams and distribution of owned video creative optimized for mobile consumption.

Twelve sponsored livestreams with diverse, influential streamers included a custom Twitch integration that could be triggered through the chat box and rewarded participants with "sub-bombs," or subscription credits.

The barrier to entry was low: all that was required was to type "#Excedrin" in the chat once, regardless of device, when prompted by the influencer. The branded integration also consisted of an animation that visually mimicked a health meter similar to those found in games and was creatively concepted to minimize disruption of game play.

By leveraging Twitch and its native platform capabilities, Excedrin was able to better establish itself in the gaming space and break through to a target audience already familiar with the nuances of the platform. Most of the creative executed on Twitch was custom and required a thorough consideration of the user experience on the platform, as well as an effective approach to branding.

Finally, in consideration of the gaming audience and other social platforms where they are already engaged, the brand also focused its social efforts at launch on Twitter. In 2022, tweets about gaming reached more than two billion, up 75 percent from 2019. Campaign activity included brand tweets distributing creative optimized for the channel, as well as a Twitter sponsorship of E3, a well-established gaming industry event that was broadcast across digital platforms for the first time this year. The expo was previously held in 2019 and drew 66,000 attendees.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

As the head pain expert for more than 60 years, Excedrin is always listening to consumers to understand where and when they need relief. Indoing so, the company learned that sometimes the things consumers love, like gaming, are the root of their head pain. With all the headache triggers related to gaming, an opportune white space was identified in reaching this young (but impactful) audience at the age where they are also starting to make their own purchase decisions.

An audit of the competitive landscape further validated this opportunity, as other pain-relief brands leaned more into lifestyle territories targeting demographics beyond Gen Z.

"Game Over for Headaches" was a successful campaign, effectively breaking through to a new audience by leveraging influential streamers in the gaming space; partnering with the world's most popular gaming streaming service, Twitch, and creating original content to speak authentically to gamers. This led to heightened earned coverage and positive consumer attention, and ultimately drove meaningful business results, which included:

  • Over half a billion earned media impressions across 190 placements
  • Over 47 million paid media impressions on Twitch
  • Over 52 million paid impressions across paid social and programmatic media engagement
  • Over 19 million minutes watched on Twitch, from over 5.7 million unique viewers
  • Nearly 45,000 Excedrin-branded chat interactions on sponsored Twitch streams, representing over 40 percent chat mentions
  • 26,211,877 total online video views
  • 1,121,746 total social engagements
  • Display click-through rate (CTR) 140 percent above benchmark
  • Three times the increase in site traffic to Excedrin.com
  • Three percent lift in CTR among gaming-related search terms versus non-gaming campaigns
  • AdAge also acknowledged the campaign by showcasing it as its "Creativity Pick of the Week."

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Data/Insights, Gaming/Gamification and E-Sports | Awards: X Gold Winner, X Silver Winner