Tag Archives: Vicks Vapor Rub

Hurling bombs at an advertising stereotype

31 Mar

I keep rolled-up socks handy to throw at the television whenever a particularly obnoxious commercial flashes by.

I’m aiming for Vicks Vapor Rub today.

Any advertiser that has decided that only Moms Know Best when it comes to loving their kids or looking after them when they are sick is going to get the sock.

You don’t need to see the spot to recall it because the formula hasn’t changed in 30 years. A sick kid. A gentle, loving mom spreading the mentholated cream on his chest. Lights out and smiles all around.

I realize the advertiser is targeting a predominantly female 25-40 demographic. By why would an advertiser go out of its way to exclude the other parent from its messaging?

Moms know best means moms know better than dads.


Do dads know best? No. But exclusion strategies only work when the people you are excluding are on the outside looking in. Not my experience as a consumer – or a parent – at all folks.

I often make decisions on purchases like this, and if I bought Vicks Vapor Rub I would certainly not pass the jar over to mom while I headed off with beer and chips to throw stuff at the television.

I’m weary of these old stereotypes. Flying sock to you Vicks.