an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Head On: Apply Directly to the Forehead

Posted by Rosepixie on February 16, 2010

So today I’m looking at a commercial that’s not so new.  This is a commercial from a few years back for a product called “Head On” which was a Homeopathic mix intended to relieve headaches.  I’ve decided to feature it because it’s such a great example of repetition as advertising.

Annoying, huh?  So here’s the story behind this commercial as far as I know it.  Since there isn’t any data showing that “Head On” (or most homeopathic remedies, actually) do anything at all, the FDA wouldn’t allow the company that made it to actually claim in their ads that it relieved headaches.  Instead of trying to work with that limitation and come up with a decent ad campaign that still conveyed what their product was, they came up with this.  Presumably they figured that just repeating the name a lot would get people to remember it and hopefully buy it.

Now, getting your product’s name in people’s heads is important, but I don’t think it’s enough in this case.  The problem here is that they don’t tell you what it does at all.  For all this commercial conveys, that stick of stuff could be for your skin (reducing shininess? removing wrinkles? who knows), it could be for some specific condition, it could be make-up!  So what is it?  No idea, but evidently you apply it directly to your forehead.  When people have no idea even what something’s basic function is, they aren’t likely to buy it.  If they happen to notice it in a store they might be more likely to pick it up, just to figure out what it is, but since the box isn’t likely to say “for headache relief” (that pesky FDA regulation about things actually having to work again!), that still may not help solve the problem.

While this commercial might reduce the likelihood that people will put “Head On” onto their lips like lip balm, it still isn’t likely to help dramatically increase sales.  Although it is good for inspiring internet parodies!

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