Zicam: Inventing a New Category of Cold Care
"They translated their strategic insight into a campaign that blew conventional wisdom
out of the water."
After a recall and horrific press caused them to cease all marketing activities for years, Zicam needed to relaunch its brand, tell a complicated product story, and compete in an overcrowded category with a media budget that was a fraction of its competitors'.
To be effective, Zicam needs to be taken within the first 24 hours of the first signs of a cold. Embracing this constraint led to the strategic idea that created a new, trademarked category of cold medicine, the "Pre-Cold" category. The insight – people don’t catch colds, colds catch people – inspired the creation of the Cold Monster, a disgustingly lovable character who personified a nasty, full-blown cold.
In the first month, sales grew 11.4% vs. prior year. Daily unique visits to the website increased 46%. Twitter mentions increased 113%. There were 14,000 new “likes” on Facebook, and 23,000 views of the commercial and videos on YouTube. In the first year, the category was down 15%, but Zicam was up 10%. All in all, the campaign was a monster of a success.