Aleve Gets in the Fighting Spirit

BBDO eschews the testimonials of traditional analgesic advertising in favor of music and onscreen text in its latest round of TV advertising for Bayer’s Aleve.

It’s a break from the previous “Dear Aleve” tactic, which dramatized customer letters testifying to the brand’s medicinal power. The client and agency changed direction because other pain relievers were making similar overtures to consumers, said Steve Dusenberry, group creative director at the Chicago agency.

“It almost seems like we’ve been reading the same storyboards,” Dusenberry said. “This is meant to set Aleve apart from the rest.”

The new spots broke earlier this month. They position Aleve as the obvious choice among pain relievers by focusing on its twice-a-day dosage. In one spot, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” plays while onscreen text offers choices such as, “Fresh-squeezed or concentrate,” “Paper or plastic” and “Aleve or Tylenol.” The ad points out that two Aleve tablets last as long as eight Tylenol. “Some decisions are a whole lot easier than others,” it says.

“We have a real story to tell, and we want to tell it in a way that is unique to the category,” Aleve brand manager Bernie Simone said in a statement.

Another spot features an adap tation of the Mighty Mouse theme (“Here I Come to Save the Day”) while suggesting slanted match ups—Hercules vs. the Tooth Fairy, King Kong vs. Pinocchio—that are meant to parallel that of Aleve and its competition.

Four other spots in a similar vein are planned, Dusenberry said. The spots con tinue Aleve’s long-running tagline, “All day long. All day strong.”

Although using all-text messages cut down on some production expenses, Dusenberry said these ads cost about as much to make as previous ones—mainly because of the price of securing rights to the music.

Campaign spending was not disclosed. Bayer spent nearly $60 million on Aleve advertising last year, according to CMR.