Marketing For Dummies…

Advil liquid gels for migrainesMichelle & I were browsing through the drugstore aisle the other day looking for something over-the-counter to treat her migraines.

Michelle prefers Advil so we were happy to see they actually had a product made specifically for migraines… or so we thought. I was curious to know what was different about this product versus regular Advil (which is really just ibuprofen). To my surprise the ingredients were the same:

“Active ingredient (in each brown oval capsule) Solubilized ibuprofen equal to 200 mg ibuprofen (present as the free acid and potassium salt)”

Uhm, excuse me, but in the dictionary under “redundant” it says “See redundant”.

Advil liquid gelsAnd it’s not just Advil that markets like this. Michelle & I saw products by Tylenol, Bayer, etc., with labels specifically for migraines, but the ingredients the same as their regular products. I would have been somewhat impressed if the migraine products cost more, but the prices were even the same.

I have to wonder are people REALLY that stupid or are these companies just really smart?

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  • Amy April 9, 2003   Reply →

    Alrighty, it took you guys a few more years to figure this out than I did…. as in, I get migraines and there isn’t much “different” out there. Check into Excedrin, that works the best (besides prescriptions). Although, you’re going to have the same issue, Excedrin Migraine, Excedrin Extra Strength, etc. are all really the same thing. Except for Excedrin PM.
    BUT, do try Excedrin. You’ll get the best results from that. Gotta run… gotta work. Tough when you hit the bar at lunch and HAVE to run BACK to the bar after work. Talk about motivation eraser.
    Good luck!!!

  • Katie April 9, 2003   Reply →

    As a marketing major (which gives me no more authority than Joe Blow, but rather serves to make me look like I know what I am talking about), people are really this stupid. No kidding. It’s not just in the titles either. Packaging color implies a lot. People perceive green as healthy (i.e. any item sold under the Healthy Choice name) and eat more if surrounded by red. It’s all about perceptions. If you think it’s made for your specific problem, you’ll be more inclined to buy it (look what this idea did for children’s cold medicines–despite the ingredients being almost identical). I think it’s pretty funny.

  • Charles April 10, 2003   Reply →

    At the risk of sounding like a shill for the Advil folks, there’s also something to be said about the placebo effect–after all, when it comes to things medicinal and health-related, the mind really does have a lot to do with the matter; that is, if you really THINK you’re feeling better, in most cases, you will–it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    On the other hand, during my theater management days, I was always amused whenever the concession products would start showing up with *slightly* different packaging–for instance, the “Twix” candy bars would suddenly change from block type to a *slightly* italicized font. I remember always wondering whether careers were made and broken on this–did some demographic research report really show that there’d be a measurable sales increase if they made the letters “TWIX” slant 5?? Apparently so…of course, now I’m in the business of designing websites myself, so I’ve come to understand the importance of such things…

  • Katie April 10, 2003   Reply →

    Hey Charles looking to hire a wanna-be web developer? I can do splash pages, I swear! Heh.

    BTW: sorry for exploiting your comment section for potential employment purposes, A.J. But, wait until you are looking for a job and then you’ll understand my desperation…

  • Charles April 11, 2003   Reply →


    Hmmm…you do excellent work (just checked your Blog site as well as your portfolio page), and I do have a lot of work at the moment (which can change any second, of course), but to be honest I’ve always been *very* wary of outsourcing any jobs after being burned in a couple of previous situations.

    Wouldn’t mind pursuing the topic further, though…you never know what’ll come up down the road.

    (posted here in the event that you don’t recognize me when I e-mail you directly lol…)

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