Love to hate Mr. Mucus? The Mucinex snot monster is back with a McCann makeover

How many people out there feel like they can relate to an animated green blob, Mr. Mucus, who lives inside patients' chests? Well, Reckitt Benckiser is going to try to make it a little easier for you.

The company is throwing its efforts behind a makeover for the Mucinex antihero, starting with giving him a new voice--"kinder, gentler and less New York," according to Advertising Age--and bringing him into the real world as part of a new multichannel campaign.

"By letting him interact with real actors, rather than just in an animated world, we can bring the ways cold and flu symptoms truly affect people's lives," Shivanthi Vannan, healthcare marketing director at RB, told Medical Marketing & Media. "With the new campaign, we made sure we built on recognizable pieces of the brand. But we are revamping him in a way that will resonate with customers and that they will be able to connect with."

In launching the first campaign for the congestion med since "Mucinex In. Mucus Out" hit the scene 10 years ago, the British consumer giant also switched up its tagline, going with "Start the Relief. Ditch The Misery. Let's End This." Following a teaser commercial that got the ball rolling earlier this month, the company will release full spots to coincide with the arrival of cold and flu season, with native content for the campaign appearing on popular sites like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.

For McCann New York, which developed the campaign, pressing ahead without Mr. Mucus was simply not an option. He "has the distinction of being one of the most recognized but least-liked ad characters in the world," the agency's chief creative officer, Tom Murphy, said in a statement seen by Ad Age. "In other words, he is a huge asset to Mucinex."

For Reckitt, the new push follows a sales slowdown from last cold and flu season, which prompted the OTC leader to move the Mucinex account to McCann in May, Ad Age notes. It also precedes an announced spinoff of its struggling pharma unit, which will leave it to double down on its consumer offerings.

While Mr. Mucus may be the ad personality patients most love to hate, he's certainly not the only animated character walking around in a drug commercial. Let's not forget the Nasonex bee, the Lunesta moth, the sad little blob in need of Zoloft and, most recently, the perky bladder who drags middle-aged women toward a bathroom in hopes of lightening the mood around Astellas' Myrbetriq.

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