Tylenol’s #HowWeFamily campaign comes at a time when overt racism in America is boiling over and when right-wing Christians claim their faith is under attack. People from those two camps may boil over themselves after watching the ad. The company hired activist filmmaker Dustin Lance Black to create the campaign videos. They chose well.
Selling pain pills by supporting the many faces of love is in line with some of the company’s earlier campaigns, such as “For What Matters Most”. As a friends-winning campaign, it will work for a large segment of the buying public. I might even have to buy some Tylenol next time I need pain relief.
In the video below Black talks about the #HowWeFamily program and lets the families who appear in the ads speak for themselves.
The ad asks two questions: “When were you first considered a family” and “When did you first fight to be considered a family?” When you watch this on TV, you will see the 30-second version. The one below is just over a minute.
In Black’s deft hands, these stories work as vignettes. The link to Tylenol is tenuous, but the link to emotions is strong.
As companies discover the power of storytelling, they are becoming increasingly adept at playing on our heart strings. Sometimes they take a bolder step and tell stories they know will rankle some of their customers, stories that challenge prejudices. It is a gamble that can backfire. On the other hand, it can gain allies. Kudos to Tylenol for pitching to an open-minded, accepting audience.