Rohit Nautiyal

Iodex HeadFast: Forehead is the new painful canvas

Making its foray into the headache relief category, with its latest commercial on air, the brand from the stable of GSK makes a new promise of instant relief

Iodex, a brand synonymous with muscular pain relief in India, recently launched Iodex HeadFast, a balm to treat headache; the brand is the latest entrant in the country's Rs 900 crore pain balm market.

Iodex HeadFast: Forehead is the new painful canvas
Research indicates that headache is a common ailment across different age groups and in some cases, occurs more than three times in a week. The communication challenge was to convey the fast action promise of new Iodex HeadFast to cut through the overcrowded (with tablets) and over-promised category.

The new campaign, currently on air, opens on the shot of a man crashing on the sofa in his home after a long day at work. Obviously, the house is buzzing with activities, generating sounds which are disturbing to the worn out man. The camera zooms into his forehead, which turns into a canvas - with the horizontal tension lines twisting into various shapes, projecting all the objects producing noise and resulting in headache (objects such as the television set, mixer grinder and party popper are shown).

Iodex HeadFast: Forehead is the new painful canvas
Iodex HeadFast: Forehead is the new painful canvas
As the man applies the balm to his forehead, the tension lines become relaxed and twist slightly, this time to form a smiley.

The idea has been cracked by the team at JWT (the agency associated with the brand for many years now) including Surjo Dutt and Tanurupa Pal in creative and Dalbir Singh and Ankit Vohra from client servicing and planning, respectively. While the ad has been directed by Abhijit Chaudhuri, the post production work is done by Rythm & Hues.

Singh believes headache is a big hindrance in today's fast paced life and is something that can completely immobilise a person. "Even the slightest sound has a magnified effect and can accentuate headache. So, we used simple everyday household objects, rendering their magnified effect on the most obvious canvas - the forehead," he says.

According to Pal, simplicity has always been a key element in most of Iodex commercials so far. "Our client instantly liked the idea of using the forehead as a canvas. The execution was a challenge as we had to show the simultaneous movement of the eyes and the forehead. The best part is, we managed to achieve this without going abroad," she adds.

The campaign will also be rolled out in print, outdoor and radio.

Iodex is a trusted brand in India since 1919. The brand was re-launched in 2004 to overcome perceived shortcomings such as unattractive packaging, greasy look and bad smell. Attempts were made to revamp its positioning by launching the brand in a green coloured bottle. Also, Iodex extended its brand by launching a variant for multi-purpose use with the name Iodex Double Power, which promised a double dose of pain fighting ingredients.

Iodex HeadFast: Forehead is the new painful canvas
Iodex HeadFast: Forehead is the new painful canvas
After facing stiff competition from Moov, the brand was launched again in 2006 with a new campaign, where a middle aged man, while walking in the garden, notices a Rs 500 note on the ground. He is tempted to pick it up but as soon as he bends to grab it, he feels great pain in his back. The main idea was: if an opportunity is to be grabbed, apply Iodex.


According to Sandhya Srinivasan, managing partner and chief strategy officer, Law & Kenneth, Iodex has for long been associated with pain removal. So it's only fair that the brand extend it to include headaches.

"On the execution front, I found the exaggeration of 'sources of pain' refreshing but I had to strain to catch the objects shown. Also, the approach to the launch of a new variant after a hiatus just passed me by. If I recall right, it is a brand of yore and could have done some song and dance to build interest among new consumer segments. I don't know how many people today share the same relationship that built it into a formidable brand many years ago," she adds.

Manoj Deb, executive creative director, BBDO India loves the film for its insight but has a problem with all that has been shown as causes for headache. "Things like a television or a child - either crying or enjoying with a toy that makes noise - make up a household and showing these things as the cause of headache may hurt a certain section of the audience," he cautions.

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