New Tylenol Ads – Will the Strategy Work?

I just saw a Tylenol ad that consisted of the VP of sales stating that some people take more than the recommended dose of Tylenol, and that the company doesn't condone that. She says she would rather people use it correctly even if it means fewer sales. Has anyone else seen this ad?

The point, I assume is to portray Tylenol as a company that cares about customer safety first and money second. That is nice, but will it help Tylenol sales? Will people buy more because they view Tylenol as a responsible company?

My theory is that Tylenol decided to change the playing field. For years the commercials have been about pain relief. They have focused on what doctors recommend and what people prefer and what relieves pain better. I think Tylenol decided to try a different message because competing on the same old points hasn't gotten them as far as they hoped. Mental note – check Tylenol sales in six months to see if they have changed.

  • Bill

    Check your assumptions. You might wish to expand them a little bit, beyond the traditional BM.

  • I wondered the exact same thing when I saw that commercial; I’m sure we’ll know more in a few months. However, as someone who can’t use Tylenol (doesn’t work for me), and being the parents of children who react better to Motrin, I haven’t paid much attention to Tylenol ads for several years.

  • Rob… My guess is that this is a pro-active issues management strategy to position the company favorably in response to recent news stories about the rise in acetaminophen overdoses.

    They’re building a foundation of credibility for three reasons: One, in case they get hauled in to testify in front of a government committee; two, to protect themselves in a potential class action suit; and three, to remind people that the Tylenol brand represents the same commitment to consumer advocacy as it did when they pulled their product off the shelves during the famous Tylenol poisoning of 1986.

  • Scott M

    Actually, I think this has more to do with covering their butts and not getting sued.

    Taking more than the recomended dose of Tylenol can lead to liver pRoblems. The recommended dose is only 4000 milligrams a day (Thats 8 500 mg Tylenol Extra Strength tablets in 24 hours.) Lots of people mistakenly take too much because they will take different medication, not knowing that they all contain Acetaminophen.

    Alcohol increases the toxicity of Acetaminophen (the key ingredient in Tylenol).

    It can be so bad that if you binge drink, then take excessive amounts of Tylenol to combat your hangover, you can suffer acute liver failure (“acute” meaning “right now, go to the hospital, you can die”).

    With spring break coming up we are likely to see more of this in the news.

  • Jay

    Yes, this is plain old CYA advertising. If they can make people feel good about them and their product and sell more too, great, but mostly it’s about exposure to foolish yet lucrative suits.

  • Lisa, St. Louis, Missouri

    I agree with others…… This is a risk management strategy!

  • The ad has been around for a while. Results should be in by now.

  • Bill Wells

    If green design focuses on the chemical engineer becoming responsible for the agent released into the stream, then when you say the results should be in now, are you talking about the behaviors have changed or has the manufacturer met their legal responsiblity. Decision trees can connect the dots all the way back into the organization. The nature of law as practiced may even violate the spirit of the law, not to say the lives of the customers. Where is the responsility and risk in the decision making processes?

  • Oh sorry let me be clearer… Rob gave himself a “Mental note” to check Tylenol sales in six months to see if they have changed. My point was I think this campaign is more than six months old (at least here on the West Coast) so the sales impact has registered already. Rob should be able to get someone to check the impact of the campaign today.

    As for the rest of your question (my apologies) I don’t understand what you are asking.

  • Bill Wells

    I guess now it is my turn to try and become clearer. The chemistry of each individual is different and evolves over time. The nature of comprehending the impact of chemical engineering can be traced back to the most fundamental level, that is molecules, materials, and/or processes. I think I may be wondering the impact upon the individual. Business as practiced might be the impact upon the business organization. Trying to comprehend the decision making processes can be worked through to create healthier, more affirmative value for all if appropriately structured.

  • frankie

    I know this was quite some time back, but does anyone have a link for this ad? I can’t seem to find it. Thank you. :)