How the ‘Plop Plop Fizz Fizz’ Marketing Campaign Doubled Alka Seltzer Sales

May 7, 2019

By the 1960s, Alka-Seltzer’s bottom line was taking a punch to the gut.

The decades-old household reliever of heartburn and acid indigestion was suffering from an image problem. It had a poor reputation with younger buyers, who associated the product with unattractive overindulgence. The drug company needed a new marketing plan and a boost to revitalize sales.

The company was struck by good news from a doctor who concluded that consumers would get more relief if they took two Alka-Seltzer tablets at a time. Up until then, the packaging only recommended plopping a single tablet into a glass of water.

This discovery gave way to Alka-Seltzer’s unforgettable jingle many of you may recognize. In a new series of television ads developed by Tinker & Partners, Alka Seltzer’s mascot, Speedy, sang the famous tune “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is!”

The Power of an Extra Plop

The intention behind the double “plop” went far beyond adding to the rhythm of the song. In the ad, a hand next to Speedy drops two tablets into the glass coinciding with each “plop.”

The TV advertisement and corresponding print campaign rewired the way users used the product. By driving home the message of using multiple doses at once to achieve the maximum effects, hangover-suffering Americans started using, and buying, more Alka-Seltzer. Plus, the double dose was more effective.

Alka-Seltzer Marketing Guided Customer Use

Other companies have found success with similar changes in how they instruct customers to use their products – think lather, rinse, repeat. But few so effectively used marketing to make the new instructions stick.

Long story short: Buyers are often looking for a little guidance on how to use your product or service. Dropping a dose of marketing into those instructions can create happier customers and provide some sales relief.

This article also appeared in our weekly newsletter, Long Story Short. It was written by Ben Cooper.  

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