Great advertising moments: Alka Seltzer
One of the world’s iconic brands, Alka Seltzer, celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2006. Throughout its history they ‘ve had a high strike rate when it comes to producing memorable, effective advertising. My first memories of the brand’s advertising was it famous ‘Boat’ commercial.
In the US, they created a mascot called Speedy who featured in their advertising in the ’50s and ’60s. The advertising promoted the use of a single tablet at a time. In a stroke of marketing genius, the brand’s fortunes changed when they encouraged the use of two tablets at a time. Portable foil packs that held two were created; the advertising was a simple demonstration of the two tablets immersing in water. The baseline, an all-time classic, ”Plop, plop, fizz, fizz – oh what a relief it is’ made the brand famous.
The brand has the distinction of making some of its advertising lines part of popular culture. This ’70s TVC had one such: ‘That’s a spicy meatball!’:
My favourite one is this (talk about branding!):
The other popular line from the Alka Seltzer ads was: ‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!’. It began in the ’70s and was voted one of Newsweek magazine’s 10 most memorable lines of the decade. During the ’80s the brand took a hiatus from mass media advertising. Controversy over the use of Aspirin in the product followed. Recently, they introduced an aspirin-free formula for heartburn. In a classic case of tribute (and fantastic casting) they brought back the ‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!’ line with a remake of the old ad. This time around, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts from ‘Everybody loves Raymond’ were used.
In the print media, some great work has been happening of late on the brand, specially from the Far East.
Only a handful of clients consisitently encourage (and get) great advertising. FedEx, Pepsi, Apple, The Economist come to mind.
To do that for decades is remarkable – Alka Seltzer would definitely rank among them.