A sick campaign for Gaviscon

Who: Prestige Brands, Fuse Create for strategy and creative, UM for media, Tantrum Studios for animation/production and Pirate for sound.

What: A new ad campaign to launch Gaviscon’s anti-nausea products in Canada. The creative brings to life the character from Gaviscon packaging.

When & Where: The campaign launched this week and is focused on TV for now, with two different ads running in English and French (30-second versions will run from now until the end of November with :15s running into January).

Why: “This is a big awareness play,” said Steve Miller, executive creative director at Fuse. While Gaviscon has been long-known as a heartburn solution, Prestige needed to introduce two different anti-nausea products launched in the spring: one is for motion sickness, while the other contains ginger for those feeling unwell after “over-indulging.”

How: By using animation to bring “Gavin,” the familiar blue figure on the Gaviscon packaging, to life. The ads present him in situations that might call for Gaviscon anti-nausea.

In both ads, Gavin steps off the box and into an empty house, where he experiences a number of different nausea-inducing moments: a wild ride on the back of a dog and spinning on a ceiling fan in the motion-sickness ad, and eating, well just about everything, in the other—which focuses on ginger as a popular option for digestion problems. Both spots close with the Gaviscon tagline: “Gaviscon and it’s gone.”

“We were in production for a spot around that time that was going to be human beings out and about in the world. And then COVID hit and we had to pivot,” said Miller.

The production partners: Miller credits Tantrum and Pirate for helping to really bring the idea to life in a very vibrant way. Both through the animation and the music they were able to create a short film of Gavin getting himself into trouble in lighthearted ways that are almost Pixar-esque, he said.

“What we as creatives look for in our partners is that unexpectedness,” he said. “You have an expectation, and when it gets beat it is just so fantastic. Tantrum and Pirate, they really brought this script to life with the skills that they have.”

Media buy: The plan at launch is for a slightly heavier buy behind the ginger product for over-indulgers rather than the product for motion sickness (I could used both on election night, know what I’m sayin’?).

Will Gavin be back? That’s a wait-and-see, said Miller. “He tested well and the brand linkage was really high, and there seems to be a lot of fondness for this character. I think time will tell if Gavin will live to see another day.”


Disclosure: A FuseCreate executive is a financial supporter of The Message.

Financial supporters have no influence or input on editorial decisions.



David Brown