Why Excedrin embraced the headache of a contentious election season

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Excedrin's #DebateHeadache was inspired by complaints the brand noticed during the first presidential debate in September

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the first of three presidential debates in late September, there was a lot of chatter on social about the event causing headaches. GlaxoSmithKline brand Excedrin jumped on the opportunity and is running an all-day Twitter campaign called #DebateHeadache as the candidates square off for the last time before Election Day.

Excedrin bought the sponsored hashtag on Twitter, which includes the line: "Debates bring headaches; Excedrin brings fast headache relief." It went live on Tuesday night and is running all day today. The idea was a joint effort between Excedrin and its agency partners Weber Shandwick, which handles PR, and media agency PHD, noted Scott Yacovino, senior brand manager for Excedrin and GSK’s US pain category.

Yacovino explained that during the first debate, Twitter users weren’t just saying the debate was causing them headaches, they were specifically naming Excedrin in their tweets.

"We saw a lot of opportunity to extend the benefit that we offer to consumers by relieving head pain and decided to participate in the third debate via a Twitter trend," he said. "It was a nice organic fit for us."

At press time, Excedrin had posted two tweets using the hashtag. The first tweet has thus far been retweeted more than 1,000 times and liked more than 2,000 times.

Both tweets include statistics from an online survey GSK has been running over the past month. Nationally, 1,007 U.S. residents, in addition to 251 New York City and 252 Los Angeles residents, provided Excedrin with information to raise awareness and preparation about the public’s anticipated surge in headaches surrounding the 2016 presidential election.

The survey’s results were released to top-tier media, consumer, and political outlets across the board and country this week.

"Three out of four people stated this campaign cycle has or will cause them headaches," said Yacovino.

#DebateHeadache and the survey are part of a broader campaign called Moments that Excedrin launched in July.

"The Moments campaign is rooted in the fact that head pain can take you out of moments in life that you want to enjoy and Excedrin brings you the relief to allow you to enjoy the moments in life that really matter," said Yacovino.

He added Excedrin will be tweeting during and after the debate tonight as part of its #DebateHeadache campaign.

Budget information was not disclosed.

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