Mr. Mucus-repped cough meds get the most positive buzz online

Treato CEO Ido Hadari

Score one for Mr. Mucus. A new study found that the slimy spokes-character helped propel Reckitt Benckiser's family of Mucinex brands to three of the top four slots on a new list of preferred OTC cough-and-cold medicines. Treato, the online data-analysis company, created the list by analyzing findings from more than 5 million patient-written online posts and reviews.

Mucinex D was No. 1, earning 4.6 on Treato's 5-point satisfaction scale, followed by Delsym, which is also a Reckitt brand. Mucinex and Mucinex DM ranked Nos. 3 and 4, with Pfizer's ($PFE) Robitussin DM and Dimetapp brands tied at No. 5.

"Reckitt Benckiser's investment in DTC advertising is clearly paying off as consumers are disproportionately discussing their brands online," says Ido Hadari, CEO of Treato, in a news release.

This is the first time Treato has done a drug ranking; it's the first in a planned series.

A spokeswoman for Treato added, "We didn't specifically do this project to find this causation, (but) one could argue that the high number of satisfaction posts is the causation of great brand marketing by Reckitt Benckiser. It appears that Reckitt Benckiser is seeing a positive ROI on their investment in DTC advertising through high volumes of positive online mentions of the Mucinex brands."

Mr. Mucus

Mucinex, in fact, currently has four different TV ads that have aired more than 33,000 times, while Delsym is running just two far less frequently at just over 8,300 airings, according to data from real-time TV tracker iSpot.tv. Robitussin has three spots running, but they only aired a total of about 3,600 times. Dimetapp has no TV ads currently running.

Mr. Mucus, the memorable but slightly gross spokes-character, has been the "face" of the Mucinex brand since 2004, although the character recently underwent a makeover to make it appear more like a "real person." Richard Sidoli, senior brand manager of healthcare and brand equity, recently told FiercePharmaMarketing that the ads are already netting positive results and "performing even better than the previous campaign, which was already very successful."

The OTC cough, cold, flu and allergy category reached $7.9 billion in sales in 2014, an increase of 16% since 2009, according to a report in ECRM.

- see Treato's Top 10 chart
- read the ECRM report

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