What better way to personify the threat of a scary cold than a monster?
That’s the reasoning behind a new campaign for cold remedy Zicam that breaks Oct. 8 as the cold season kicks off. The effort, Zicam’s first from new agency Grok, centers around a character called—not surprisingly—the Cold Monster.
This ad critter is green and hairy with a running nose, bloodshot eyes and crooked teeth. Icky? Yes, but also somewhat relatable.
In fact, rather than create the character through computer-generated imagery, New York’s Grok creative chiefs Tod Seisser and Steve Landsberg opted for an intricate costume, which was handcrafted by Legacy Effects. Besides, no need to gross out the brand’s prime target: moms in their mid-30s who can ill afford to get sick, said Grok CEO Julie Bauer.
“We didn’t want it to feel like a cartoon,” said Bauer. “We really wanted it to feel real.”
The first TV ad, directed by Rocky Morton, plays out like a short movie, with natural sound and music dramatizing the action. A woman sneezes and walks briskly on a city sidewalk to avoid the clutches of the monster, who’s just a few steps behind. But once she pops a Zicam, the creature backpedals into the path of a Zicam-branded truck. The tagline is a mouthful: “Go from pre-cold to no cold faster.”
Next up: Web videos of the monster encountering New Yorkers. Fuggedaboutit.