Could Guilt Sell More Cold Medicine?

Photo by mcfarlandmo on, (cc) some rights reservedSorry for not posting more this week. I’ve been traveling a lot. 

And everywhere I went, fellow road warriors weren’t just coughing and sneezing—they were apologizing.

Like the guy in 12C, sitting next to me in the cramped Embraer (French for sardine can, I think) from Cleveland who let out a violent sneeze into the bend of his sleeve, followed by a meek, “I’m really sorry, man.”

Made me think: Should cough and cold medicine companies consider “guilt” as a motivator for selling more cold-and-flu-season elixirs? 

Most ads—NyQuil, for instance—focus on restoring personal health and comfort. So much so, that the battling ad claims cancel each other out over time.

Perhaps a message strategy of “keeping others around you healthy” (or, more blatantly, “don’t infect other people with your filthy germs”) would be worth testing, if Vicks or Robitussin is listening out there.

Oh, and to the guy in 12C: Thanks so much for the raspy tickle I’m starting to feel in my throat this morning. I totally take back that “bless you.”