Misery Is Focus in P&G Work

There are no happy endings in Procter & Gamble’s new estimated $30 million campaign for its Nyquil and Dayquil brands. Instead of showing cold sufferers getting relief, as in past ads for the products, the new TV work lingers on misery.

The spots focus on “that horrible moment when the symptoms are at their most dreadful,” said Penny Hawkey, executive creative di-rector at D’Arcy Ma-sius Benton & Bowles in New York, which has handled Nyquil since 1968. “We never go to a happy ending. We wanted to leave that moment of tension in the mind of the viewer.”

Breaking today, the TV, print, radio and outdoor campaign runs through April 2001, said Craig Cappozzo, P&G’s marketing director for North American Respiratory.

The Nyquil TV work shows people kept awake by their cold symptoms, thinking of ways to get to sleep. One guy watches an early-morning aerobics show, feebly trying to mimic the instructor’s arm movements. Another tries to hypnotize himself with his watch. Relief is only suggested by a voiceover at the end.

The new tagline: “The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever so you can get the sleep you need to feel better medicine.” The previous one was the same, except for the line, “… fever so you can rest and have a good morning medicine.”

“Nyquil is all about sleep and the quality of sleep,” Cappozzo said. “We’re continuing to drive the brand’s core equity.”

People in the Day-quil ads are too sick to do simple tasks. In one, a man too tired to walk pushes himself backward to the bathroom. The new tagline: “The daytime, non-drowsy, congested, stuffy head, sore throat, coughing, aching, fever so you can get back your day medicine.” The previous one was the same but for the last line: “… fever so you can get through your day medicine.”

Cappozzo said the new taglines are more empowering. He declined comment on billings, but P&G spent about $25 million in measured media on Nyquil in 1999 and about $15 million on Dayquil, per Competitive Media Reporting.