Tag Archives: Cough Syrup

Cherry is for wimps.

10 Nov

We spend so much time trying to be nice and polite and perfect and easy. And we make assumptions about what people want and how people think. And if enough people do that, you end up leaving out a whole group of consumers who want rude or harsh or difficult. The kind of people who want to build their own bookshelves and not just think about the people who scream at the little line figure dude on Ikea instructions as we try to assemble mashed wood pulp into furniture.

So in marketing one of the things we talk about is being opposite. Can’t be much more different from your competitors than if you are the opposite.  So what’s the opposite of good? Bad.

And what if people believe that bad is better, that bad is more effective. Which is why I now have a big honkin’ crush on Buckley’s Cough Syrup. Their tagline? “It tastes awful. And it works.” I’m in love. And I’m not the only one.

Does Canada let you marry a cough syrup?

They are bad ass. They are like the tough old gramma who says “You wanna whine about how it tastes, or you wanna get better?”  Which is pretty much what Buckley’s says on their website…

When it comes to being sick, there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who want comfort, and those who want to get better.

Now, you may be saying, “But how successful can they be? I’ve never heard of them.” Well, that’s because they are in Canada. And those people are tough up there, which makes me wonder how bad this stuff tastes if Canadians think it tastes bad (because they are so tough… not because they have bad taste…. oh never mind).

Go take a look at some of their ads.  One of the best lines: “Not new. Not improved.”

And the TV…


You’ll laugh at least once. You’ll also be vaguely afraid… but curious.


What assumptions are your competitors making? What assumptions are you making? If you freed yourself of those constraints, what would be the opposite of those things?

%d bloggers like this: