Sunday, November 20, 2016

Robatussin DM Max “If You Could See Your Cough” Ad

Hey, this is the exact same concept from a classic ad I remember from my childhood: “If you could see your bad breath.” We all used to make fun of that ad back in Massachusetts during the winter when our breath would turn to steam and we could all see it. I can’t remember what mouthwash that was an ad for anymore (Scope? Listermint? Not sure.), but it’s exactly the same idea here: visualize the unseen bad thingy you’d want to avoid having. (Why is the ad I’m referring to not up on YouTube? It was one of the ones that people talked about the most, like: “That little itch could be telling you you have dandruff” for Head and Shoulders Shampoo. Also one of those ‘make people insecure so they’ll buy the product’ ads I am generally against; but that mouthwash one was so funny, I give it a special dispensation for its intent.)

So while this spot is fun, I hope everyone knows it’s hardly an original concept. And, in fact, its concept is borrowed from one of the great ads from yesteryear (somewhere around the late 1970s).

But I have to take issue with the tagline used here: “Because it’s never just a cough.” Sometimes coughs are just coughs, and this ad is not only misleading, but accusatory in tone towards people who have non-contagious coughs. Apparently acid reflux can lead to a chronic cough, but that’s not contagious, so this ad, while not exactly lying (an acid reflux cough is caused by acid reflux, so technically it’s not just a cough), is making coughs look like they’re all infectious, which they’re not; maybe most are contagious, but not all of them are. You have to give me the fact that the perception of that tagline’s statement is that all coughs are contagious, even if they have phrased it with plausible deniability.

If only cough syrups really worked well on coughs. Try Tessalon Perles for an actual cough suppressant. They’re prescription, though, and not sure why, but they work, which I have found over-the-counter cough syrups don’t.

Here’s the cough cloud commercial: