As the premier head pain expert over the last 60 years, Excedrin is always looking to better understand and learn more about the vast spectrum of head pain that can impact peoples’ lives. The brand became aware of a serious problem: Young migraine sufferers weren’t being diagnosed until an average of six years after experiencing their first migraine. In 2021, Excedrin sought to close that six-year diagnosis gap by raising awareness of migraines.
While regular headaches and migraines are medically different, Excedrin knew that young, undiagnosed migraine sufferers may not be aware that their head pain could be a migraine. In fact, these new sufferers often worry that their symptoms could be from a more serious condition, causing them anxiety and stress. Since migraines can manifest in symptoms unique to each person, there is no “one size fits all” guidebook— creating further confusion to someone who is navigating their first migraine. This ambiguity, in addition to the invisible nature of any kind of head pain, can further delay a migraine sufferer from seeking a formal diagnosis to properly treat their migraines.
Since migraine symptoms typically begin at a young adult age and more frequently in women, Excedrin identified an opportunity to connect with 18–24-year-old women, increase their awareness of this condition, and motivate them to seek diagnosis—all while building brand equity as a helpful, head pain expert.
Through brand research conducted in 2021, Excedrin learned of an average six-year gap between someone’s first migraine and when they receive a formal diagnosis (GSK Consumer Research, 2021). Until they actually receive a diagnosis, new sufferers frequently experience painful, disorienting, and debilitating symptoms that can truly impact their quality of life.
Excedrin knew the sooner that undiagnosed migraine sufferers recognized their symptoms, the sooner they’d be able to start managing them. So in 2021, the brand set a goal: start closing the Migraine Diagnosis Gap. The first step? Raising awareness of migraines, and how they can be different to each first-time migraine sufferer.
Highlighting real stories from migraine sufferers was critical to this execution. Because migraines cause pain that is not necessarily visible, the brand opted for a visual strategy to bring migraine experiences to life and help first-time sufferers more easily identify symptoms relevant to them. To also highlight the unique nature of migraines, the brand leaned into self-expression through #MYgraine—to help sufferers discover their personal symptoms and also creatively express how they feel. We executed this through several key pillars:
First, we conducted interviews with real migraine sufferers to understand how their symptoms and first migraine experience actually felt and translated these stories into highly visual representations of symptoms through projection mapping. These engaging visuals were distributed through programmatic OLV and on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, reaching this young sufferer audience where they’re already getting their media.
Second, we partnered with authentic voices to bring credibility and awareness to the campaign. Our key talent, Jamie Greenberg, is a professional makeup artist and a confirmed migraine sufferer. Because of Jamie’s ability to speak to her own authentic experience and showcase it in a visual way, we partnered with her to create engaging social content and speak to her partnership with Excedrin publicly. To encourage others to start sharing their own #MYgraine visualizations, the brand also created kits to distribute to health, wellness, beauty, and general lifestyle media-friendlies and notable celebrity migraine sufferers. These makeup kits highlighted Jamie’s personal story and included a selection of items to encourage self-care, wellness, and self-expression of #MYgraines.
We also identified 3 additional influencers across different artistic mediums, including painting, make-up, and drag, to visually represent their own unique experiences on Instagram and TikTok. They spoke about their individual migraine experience and journey to diagnosis with Excedrin’s resident migraine expert through a livestreamed content series – #MYgraine Mondays – which launched across Clubhouse and Instagram. This series focused on providing condition awareness to potential sufferers, while also encouraging them to seek professional diagnosis. And to directly raise awareness and drive consideration with a Gen Z audience, we partnered with the media outlet HerCampus on a sampling and micro-influencer program.
Finally, we created a website landing page to help new sufferers learn more about their symptoms, see other’s real-life representations of their #MYgraine experience, and find more information for help.
#MYgraine was a successful campaign, capturing the attention of a new audience through visually-engaging, real-life representations of actual experiences.
Key campaign performance:
156 earned media placements
128,431,131 earned media impressions
6M+ impressions and 6.6M+ video views across paid OLV and social
Total native + social amplification reached 1.4 MM impressions—12.33% over delivery
Native display ad content on HerCampus.com received a 0.17% CTR, exceeding HC’s benchmark of 0.07%.
The organic influencer content received a combined 4,291 likes and 306 comments and saw an engagement rate of 15.69%, 5x above the HC benchmark (3%).