When spring fevers hit

BY TS Kelly, Alphonso

The weather may be getting warmer, but a cold or flu doesn’t care if it is sunny outside. While most would relegate concerns about colds and the flu to the winter months, sniffling, sneezing, a sore throat, and soaring fever can strike on the most beautiful of spring days. In fact, according to Scarborough, over 88 million Americans bought over-the-counter cold and flu medications last spring alone.

Alphonso data reveals that although spend is not nearly as high as during the frigid months of January and February, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Mylan invested in television airtime throughout April to ensure that their respective remedies would end up in the hands of consumers — despite the daffodils.

P&G was far and away the top spender, airing several commercials for its Vicks brand during the month – for both DayQuil and NyQuil. The total spend was over $440,000. That might seem like a mere sniffle compared to the millions they invested in television ads when snow was in the forecast, but they made sure that their springtime spend worked hard.

NyQuil TV spots were aimed across dozens of networks, ranging from Logo to ESPN U, OWN to Nickelodeon’s [email protected] and CMT to Discovery Family. The ads aired on an equally diverse range of programming as well, from reruns of the sitcom “George Lopez” to “College Football,“ and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to the daytime talk show “Pickler and Ben.”

Alphonso commercial dataFor the most part, the focus for DayQuil was much more targeted — in this case, to college sports fans. A commercial featuring a father-of-the-bride trying to take a “sick day” — rather than walk his daughter down the aisle — received numerous April airings on collegiate baseball, softball, and football games.

Widening reach into the Hispanic market, Vicks NyQuil also aired a Spanish-language spot. But, even that ad made its way to sports lovers on “Futbol Premier League.”

Reckitt Benckiser tried to capture consumer mindshare for its Mucinex brand, with two commercials airing primarily on Nickelodeon’s Nick Junior block of programming, Universal Kids, and Discovery Life.

While a smaller player in the cold and flu relief field, Mylan’s Cold-Eeze also bought TV time in April, chiefly focusing on CNN and Headline News with their television ad spend.

So, while it is clear from Alphonso data that investment in TV ads for cold and flu remedies are at their peak in the winter months, cold and flu drug makers’ are still putting limited funds in action while the sun doth shine. And, considering the numbers of people who purchase these types of medications in the spring, OTC drug companies may want to raise higher stakes for television in the warmer months.

TS Kelly of AlphonsoTS Kelly is senior vice president of research for Alphonso, a TV data company that provides real-time TV campaign analytics, one-to-one TV ad retargeting, and closed-loop attribution for brands and agencies. In his role at Alphonso, Kelly deep dives into television data and insights, giving clients guidance on how to optimize their TV spend.


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