Recently, Tylenol launched a new advertisement titled “How We Family,” which highlighted the relationships of same-sex and interracial couples. The advertisement focuses on the notion of accepting people for “who they love, not how they love,” a growing mindset and movement for many people throughout the United States. Tylenol’s sheer acknowledgement of the changing times, perspectives, and opinions on same sex relationships connected their products directly to their consumers by engaging their brand with current social issues. While this advertisement had the potential to spur a vast amount of reactions from consumers, ultimately Tylenol succeeded in getting people to talk about their brand, and in turn (hopefully) their products.
Tylenol’s advertisers were able to recognize that given the progression and normalization of the LGBT community, in theory their advertisement would be viewed in a more positive light. In addition, by highlighting current social issues, Tylenol proved to consumers that despite changing times, their product, as well as their brand, would continue to stay relevant. This is a very important concept for brands to recognize. Ideally, companies should develop a brand for themselves that embodies the “now.” Obsolete company ideals and values lead to consumers viewing an entire brand as out-of-date, and in turn, their product as well. Tylenol recognized that consumers are not only interested in a product’s performance, but in addition, they are influenced by what a brand stands for, isolated from the product itself.
In the advertisement, “How We Family,” advertisers created a relationship between the pain associated with those discriminated within the LGBT community to the pain felt by those suffering from a headache, sore muscle, etc. Essentially, Tylenol was trying to prove that their brand understood exactly what pain was, and while advertisers are not trying to say that their product will alleviate all types of pain, they offer a great place to start.
Another aspect of this advertisement that should be duly noted is the use of positive emotional appeals to audience members. Advertisers were ultimately trying to associate the sentimental feelings of love, acceptance, and progression with their pain-relieving product. Market research has found that the use of positive emotional appeals can cause consumers to think more positively about a particular brand, and in turn, the positive appeal increases the desire to own a particular product.
It is also important to note that Tylenol was one of the first large companies to address LGBT rights in a public light. While this may have caused controversial responses among consumers, advertisers got people to talk about their product. Tylenol took the risk of taking a firm stance on a very unstable social issue. While some consumers may disagree with their campaign approach, Tylenol succeeded in setting themselves apart from their competitors. Advertisers gave something new for consumers to talk about, separate from the pain-relief their product offered. All in all, Tylenol brought something new to the table that not many other pain-relieving brands can provide. While being “first” can be a dangerous position for brands, it is far more beneficial to being last. They got an early start on actively supporting the LGBT community, something that many brands will not do until they deem it a “safe” move. Essentially, Tylenol jumped into the driver’s seat with their foot on the accelerator, leaving other brands with a lot of catching up to do.