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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Mucinex Nightshift #TooSickToBeSick

Winner in TikTok

Finalist in Pharma & Healthcare

Silver Honor in Consumer Brand


As the #1 doctor recommended OTC brand for daytime multi-symptom relief,* Mucinex was excited to introduce the latest in nighttime cold and flu relief with the launch of new Mucinex Nightshift Cold & Flu: a powerful new solution for nighttime cold & flu sufferers everywhere, empowering them to fight their worst symptoms, sleep great, and wake up human.  

The zombie-themed Wake Up Human integrated launch campaign kicked off in October 2019 with a robust, 360 activation, inclusive of TV, digital advertising, PR and social amplification. To ensure the success of the launch, however, the brand needed to go beyond building awareness among existing brand users and loyalists. It needed to: 

  1. reach new, younger audiences – specifically, digital-savvy Gen Z 
  2. break through the clutter of a crowded category with an established nighttime relief leader

Our solution? TikTok: one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, which is mobile-only and boasts an average user engagement of 45 minutes a day (even more than Facebook!).** 


*Adult Cough/Cold category in the US among 11,884 physicians surveyed IQVIA, 2019

**Holmes, Ryan. “Is TikTok a time bomb?” Fast Company. August 28, 2019.

Strategy and Execution

To deliver on the brand’s objectives and further amplify the in-market Wake Up Human campaign, the brand embarked upon a first-of-its-kind partnership with TikTok – a platform that had not previously been leveraged by OTC medication brands – as we approached the scariest season of all — cold & flu season.

Leveraging the relevance of the Halloween timeframe – and recognizing the category whitespace on the platform – Mucinex utilized past user behavior and insights from TikTok to identify how to break through the already-cluttered Halloween content to effectively intercept and engage a younger consumer audience.  

In collaboration with TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, on October 29, 2019 Mucinex launched the #TooSickToBeSick challenge, a transformation-based challenge where users were encouraged to share how they transform from “Too Sick” – groggy, bundled up, and zombified – to “So Sick”—sleek, glammed out, and Halloween-party ready – thanks to Mucinex Nightshift.

As part of the activation, the brand worked with TikTok to carefully identify and partner with four relevant and authentic creators who produced dynamic, high-quality videos, each using a different transformation style to bring the concept to life to drive engagement and inspire other users to participate in the challenge. 

The influencer videos were leveraged as full-screen, sound on, native in-feed video ads to drive users to the #TooSickToBeSick challenge page and generate awareness of the Mucinex Nightshift product. Additional drivers included Mucinex-owned creative throughout the platform, as well as earned media outreach to relevant consumer and trade media. 


With the launch of the #TooSickToBeSick challenge, Mucinex became the first OTC medication to partner with TikTok, demonstrating the brand’s commitment and willingness to fearlessly test new marketing innovations.  By creating a role for the brand on an emerging platform, leveraging the popular transformation-based challenge format, and enlisting content creators that are authentic to TikTok, Mucinex effectively delivered on its objectives of engaging a younger target and breaking through the sea of cold and flu category sameness.

In just 6 days, between October 29th and November 3rd, the campaign achieved strong results across multiple measures of success, including:


Entrant Company / Organization Name

McCann NY & McCann Health NY (Creative), Zenith USA (Media Planning), Lippe Taylor (PR), RB


Entry Credits