VapoRub Reconstruction

In my reconstruction of this advertisement I wanted to highlight the absurdity of a single company speaking for profit can claim that clinical studies prove all grandmothers right or wrong.

The “no questions asked” health care routine that treats symptoms rather than the root concern is dangerous due to much of the preventative care that regularly seeing a physician can bring. It also assumes that Vick’s has the audience’s best interests at heart, while the other companies are lying.

By capitalizing on intimate familial moments while reprimanding the viewer for not listening to their grandmother vicks is exploiting that audience and with my own analysis I was hoping to remind viewers to be acutely aware of the attempts of marketing executives who inevitably made this advertisement not to help or cure the common cold but to make a profit.

The use of science as a marketing tool has increasingly become a way for companies to profit off of their consumers ill health and as such they should be weary of the claims made by advertisements.

I wanted to keep the same tone of reprimanding and gentle nostalgia in order to create the same feelings of shaming and credibility that the writing seemingly has. My approach was not to discredit grandmothers in peoples eyes but to invite scrutiny of the intentions of the companies claiming to speak for them.

Vick’s VapoRub

In the Vick’s VapoRub advertisement I analysed was in black and white, except for the main object, a jar of VapoRub which was full colour. Its intention is to be direct and simple with its large blocky, bold text in black for main message, “recent clinical studies prove your grandmother was right.”.

The smaller, unbolded black writing of the subtext is meant to reinforce their message by drawing the reader in to read a larger amount of text to convince the audience of adults, that their product is the one their grandmother would want them to buy.

The intent of the ad overall is to increase VapoRub sales and to decrease the sales of cough syrup and “the pill” assumedly referring to a decongestant or anti-cold pill. But this also increases the “credibility” of grandmothers and create pleasant reminders of times that may not have been that pleasant in the moment.

This may also create a feeling of shame for the viewer, that by not trusting their grandmothers blindly they are lacking common sense that could make them feel better faster. By taking that stance, Vicks is making broad assumptions that everyone has a maternal figure with whom they relate positively.

While this is not the case for many it also assumes that the viewer doesn’t know what they want and that they have no one (except for Vick’s, of course) looking out for their better interests. Consequences of these framings might change the course of someone’s health care practices, and instead of going to a doctor and addressing other health concerns as well they instead turn to VapoRub to attempt to solve all their chest related problems.