Character: Captain Zantac
Company: Boehringer Ingelheim
Firefighter Captain Zantac is relatively new to the pharma character scene, launched in 2013 as part of Boehringer's evolution of the over-the-counter brand. At the time, the heartburn relief drug was looking for a way to cut through the highly competitive category.
"We felt an iconic character would serve as a memorable platform to help cut through the heartburn advertising clutter," a Boehringer spokesperson told FiercePharmaMarketing via email. "… In a very approachable way, Captain Zantac is able to effectively convey our message about Zantac quickly relieving heartburn in a category where consumer confusion on which product is best suited for heartburn is high."
The computer graphic animation was created by Boehringer along with healthcare marketing agency Jomo and Aardman Animations, the well-known animation studio that created the award-winning short film stars Wallace and Gromit. The tagline of the work is "No pill relieves heartburn faster."
The TV character is part of a broader multichannel campaign that includes print, online and in-store, as well as a more recently launched social media presence across Twitter and Facebook.
The ads are a bit unusual in that while Captain Zantac and his siren-blaring firetruck are animations, they interact in live action scenes, with the Captain even fist-bumping with real people.
Captain Zantac has appeared in 5 different ads to date and is working effectively for the brand. Boehringer said that since the character launched, "we've seen Zantac sales increase consistently," and it holds the No. 1 spot in the H2 acid reliever category. -- Beth Snyder Bulik