America's 38 million migraine sufferers experience symptoms that interfere with every day – nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, visual disturbances and intense pain. And unfortunately, migraines often show up in a place sufferers spend the most time: at work. In fact, workplace migraines are more prevalent than many other illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. In addition to the physical pain, migraines can take an emotional toll on sufferers, who often face bias in the workplace due to a lack of understanding of the condition.
As such, the Excedrin Works campaign sought to:
Driven by the reality that workplace migraines are more prevalent than many other illnesses, Excedrin uncovered that there is still a lack of understanding among non-sufferers via a brand-owned study. While 94% of migraine sufferers get migraine attacks at work, the majority (81%) elect to suffer in silence, downplaying the severity of their pain or just choosing to "power through." In addition to enduring debilitating physical and emotional pain, nearly half (42%) of migraine sufferers have had to debunk migraine myths – like that they are tired, lazy or even hungover.
It is one thing to tell someone about your migraine, but what if we could show them?
Excedrin understands that physical and emotional pain from migraines is just part of the story. In addition to suffering from headpain, nausea, dizziness and visual symptoms, such as auras and sensitivity to light, migraine sufferers may also face isolation, judgment, missed opportunities or even lost trust in the workplace.
Enter Excedrin Works—a campaign designed to shine a light on the impact of migraines at work and help sufferers start a conversation about migraine debilitating pain and emotional impact.
Through the use of real people, real stories and immersive 360° video technology, Excedrin fostered a deeper understanding of migraines by enabling non-suffering coworkers to walk in the shoes of a migraine sufferer. This ultimately allowed them to experience the extreme challenge involved in working with migraine symptoms. Through the program, non-sufferers are able to experience two real workplace migraines: an EMT at the scene of an accident and a pastry chef in a busy restaurant kitchen.
This integrated cross-channel campaign made it possible for sufferers to share a glimpse of their migraine symptoms and experiences with others. The conversation was amplified with the help of NASCAR driver and migraine sufferer Danica Patrick, who shared her personal experience with migraines personally and professionally. In addition to Danica, we had a clinical psychologist and headpain expert, Dr. Elizabeth Seng, available to discuss the science behind migraines, their triggers, and potential solutions.
Rather than just talk about a migraine, our unique 360° video allowed non-suffers to experience a migraine's visual and sound-related symptoms first-hand. The videos provided a unique first person account of what that sufferer experiences when struck by a migraine. The technology was accessible to anyone with a smartphone, and allowed non-sufferers an opportunity to better connect with and understand sufferers like never before.
To complement this, Excedrin launched TV commercials and a hero video featuring these real-life sufferers along with a YouTube masthead, creating a tentpole digital event that built share of attention and spread mass awareness.
Social and digital media sustained Excedrin's SOV throughout the following weeks with emotional content including a workplace discussion guide that tapped into key campaign insights and gave sufferers the tools to have conversations about migraines at work. Emotional content was re-targeted with hard-hitting product-focused ads to reinforce consideration and trial.
The Excedrin Works campaign was covered everywhere from Sports Illustrated to People.com, driving nearly 400 million earned media impressions to date. The campaign's hero video was listed at #6 on AdAge's viral video chart and received a total of 15.6M views.
This resulted in a substantial conversation lift: a 300% increase in mentions of Excedrin and head pain. The following week, the YouTube Masthead garnered 300 million impressions, and a 13% engagement rate—the highest for any GSK Masthead. Branded Excedrin searches were up 38% vs. the prior two-week period and overall migraine searches spiked 20%.
The campaign even saw a 41% lift in brand favorability among its target audience, exceeding Nielsen's favorability benchmarks in all three categories (Pain reliever, Pharma, and Health/OTC). Additionally, nearly 40% of the total 15.6M hero video views were driven by consumers sharing and earned coverage, further demonstrating that Excedrin Works successfully inspired a conversation around better understanding of migraines in the workplace.
Last but not least, this integrated launch also drove success in-store: two weeks after launch, Excedrin hit its highest share, up more than 22% in sales (with category growth at 1%).
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