GlaxoSmithKline and Excedrin pledge to back Cleveland Browns parade if they reach ‘perfect’ losing season

GSK building
GSK will chip in for a Cleveland Browns’ perfect losing season parade as part of its everyday headaches cultural marketing for Excedrin.

The Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers' overtime game earlier this month was a close call. Not only for Browns fans hoping for the first win of the season, but also for GlaxoSmithKline.

The near-win for the Browns—the team eventually lost 27-21—almost ended plans for a January “perfect” losing season parade, for which GSK migraine headache brand Excedrin agreed to cover costs.

Longtime Browns fan and season ticket holder Chris McNeil began planning the “Perfect Season Parade” for a second year and started a GoFundMe page to raise the needed $10,000. But GlaxoSmithKline stepped in recently and offered the final $7,683.

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RELATED: Empathy at work: GlaxoSmithKline extends Excedrin Migraine campaign to include sufferers on the job

Of course, the team still has to lose the rest of its games. Last year, the parade was cancelled when the Browns won a game on Christmas Eve. The money raised for the parade, along with extra donations from the Browns team and others, totaled more than $50,000 and was donated to the Cleveland Food Bank. The food bank will get the money donated by Excedrin and others again this year if the Browns win one of their remaining games. As one fan wrote on the funding page, “It's a win-win for the lose-lose.”

For GlaxoSmithKline, the parade fits its tongue-in-cheek cultural topic marketing for Excedrin that looks to address the everyday headaches in life. Excedrin did a social media promotion around the presidential election debates last year using the hashtag #debateheadache, and this past summer Excedrin paid for a private car and New York Mets game tickets for a frustrated Mets fan who went viral on social media in a rant after missing a game because of subway delays. GSK and its agency Weber Shandwick remain on the lookout for the cultural moments that might fit.

“We’re always looking at what’s going on in the news to find these headache-inducing moments in time,” Caryn Previdi, GlaxoSmithKline director of communications, said. “They’re a little bit cheeky and a little bit clever, nothing too serious. We saw that Cleveland was having a tough season and fans were probably a little heartbroken so we said ‘hey, how can we come in and help?’”

RELATED: Pain and empathy: GSK migraine simulator for Excedrin wins creative and consumer praise

Plans for any Excedrin social media or other promotions around the parade are still evolving due to the quick turnaround, Previdi said. The parade is currently set for January 6 and, according to McNeil’s site, will circle First Energy Stadium and “culminate with a post-party at a soon to be determined location.”

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