Giant lawn and flower monsters run amok in GlaxoSmithKline's latest OTC Flonase ad campaign

GlaxoSmithKline OTC campaign for Flonase spring 2021
In a still from GSK's Flonase latest DTC TV ad, people run screaming in panic from a giant daffodil garden monster. (GlaxoSmithKline)

Snarling lawn monsters and giant roaring daffodils terrorize city streets in GlaxoSmithKline’s new TV ads for allergy med Flonase.

While dozens of people run screaming, the Flonase-using protagonists sit calmly reading or eating ice cream. The commercials' tagline? Allergies don’t have to be scary.

The Godzilla-like sci-fi horror ads marks a creative change for GSK's nasal spray OTC med, which switched from prescription to over-the-counter in 2014 and first launched advertising the following year. Early campaigns focused on explaining the way the nasal spray blocks six seasonal allergy inflammation triggers, noting “six is better than one.”

Sibling brand Flonase Sensimist went OTC in 2016 with its own advertising campaign launch, centered on its gentle mist and a similar six-blocking power. Both brands are included in the new campaign, which also uses a reminder of Flonase's spray action with a "Psst, psst" onomatopoeia voice-over at the beginning and end of the ad.

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The latest campaign was born out of allergy sufferers' insights about their complicated relationship with nature, Obehi Remi-John, GSK senior brand manager, allergy, said via email.

“By talking and listening with consumers, we developed a very clear understanding of the complex relationship allergy sufferers have with nature—they want to love and enjoy nature like everyone else, but they feel nature doesn’t love them back and is actually working against them,” he said.

Flonase is one of only 20 or so brands on the FDA’s Prescription-to-OTC switch list dating back to 2001. Other products include competing allergy medicines such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra and Rhinocort along with heartburn medicines Nexium and Prevacid. A handful of other familiar brands like Mucinex, Lotrimin, Miralax and Differin are also on the list.

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Like many of those meds, the Flonase OTC brand recognition has been driven by advertising and marketing campaigns. During the six years since its switch, GSK has run more than 20 different Flonase, Children’s Flonase and Flonase Sensimist TV commercials, spending more than $350 million on national media buys, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.

GSK worked with agency FCB on the campaign, which, along with the 15-second TV commercials, is running on digital, social, audio and out-of-home platforms.