WebMD’s Cold and Flu Map Is an Effective Marketing Tool—So Why Does It Make Some People Queasy?

How the makers of Mucinex sell to the sniveling masses

Millions of people with cold or flu symptoms turn to the internet for help, and marketers can use that data. Getty Images

If you’re reading these words while coughing, sneezing and rubbing your eyes, there’s a decent chance you have a common cold—which is, as the name suggests, common. The average American adult will suffer through 200 colds in a lifetime. Every year, that collective misery results in 100 million doctor visits, 40 million missed workdays and $25 billion in lost productivity. If you happen to have the flu, the news is worse: Last year, of the 25 million Americans who contracted influenza, 310,000 wound up in the hospital, and 12,000 died.

@UpperEastRob robert.klara@adweek.com Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.