Let the pollen war commence

When my sister was diagnosed with hayfever, I felt sorry for her – imagine being allergic to flowers. The gift of greeting, love or congratulations discarded for the sake of teary eyes and a few sneezes. However, I believe that this advert deals with the subject admirably, making the pollen-suffering victim a battle axe against those airborne spores and dragonfly choppers, with Benadryl the obliging victor.

The advert was created by JWT London in 2009, and dramatises how a barrage of pollen – those dangerous dandelions and poisonous pansies, can be akin to enemy fire. Whilst the brief (to reinforce Benadryl’s effectiveness credentials and superior speed of action) is met by presenting Benadryl as the ultimate fighting tool – well-prepared and prepared to eliminate. As such, the campaign understands the nature and “collateral damage” of hayfever’s underhand snipes, in other words – the suffering caused to helpless, the hayfever victim who very often won’t admit to having a problem because having a problem to pollen fails to generate concern. What I therefore really like about the advert and its slow motion footage is how it re-evaluates the outdoors – that cheery, pictoresque countryside transformed into a mine-field for the hayfever sufferer, each plant a trigger. A little bit like realising the force of nature post a natural disaster and thinking ‘holy crap’, although obviously on a much smaller scale, which makes this advert all the more effective as it is the smallest things that set off that hayfever atishoo.

The advert was later followed in 2010 with a website in the form of an underground bunker. Here, Benadryl went all out on the aid front with the bunker (manned by oh-so-efficient Benadryl Resistance) providing a place for consumers to gather information, inputing their postcode on the site to find localised real time pollen count updates in their area. They could then go to an aid station to find details on symptoms and treatment, as well as a separate site in the bunker for detailed information on the Benadryl range. The outcome – Benadryl, the hero.

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