A hangover helper

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For years, the marketers of Alka-Seltzer have promised relief from indigestion, colds, heartburn-just about everything except a broken heart and a crushing hangover. Now, cross the latter off the list.

Bayer Consumer Care introduces via a national ad campaign this week Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief to treat the headache and fatigue associated with the morning after a night of boozing. The product has recently reached full national distribution, in time for the holiday season of late nights and too-early mornings.

The product follows another line extension, Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief, which launched last year. Others are coming, though Bayer executives declined to reveal what they may treat next.

Although spending figures for Morning Relief were unavailable, Bayer spent $18.3 million through July of this year to launch Heartburn Relief, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Bayer executives believe they have a leg up on competitors because of how Alka-Seltzer is taken: Tablets are dropped in liquid to create an effervescent reaction. Bayer executives assert the effervescence works rapidly, but most importantly dovetails with the trend of consumers wanting to take more control of their health because it allows consumers to nurse themselves.

"We view all of our Alka-Seltzer lines as giving consumers the chance to have an active experience," said Jay Kolpon, VP-marketing, Bayer Consumer Care.

Bayer's target for Morning Relief is men 25 to 35, younger than Alka-Seltzer brands' normal target, 35-plus men and women.

The company launches a multi-platform marketing campaign Nov. 5 with a national TV effort. One TV ad appeared Nov. 1 as Bayer, whose creative agency is Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, was able to take advantage of favorable pricing for World Series spots. Print is still in development, while radio and a sampling program outside NFL games and Nascar events will also be employed.

A 15-second spot features a 30-something man emerging from bed. Suddenly, he has a flashback to the night before carousing with friends. "Wish you could undo what you did last night?" the voice-over asks.

The spot ends with the tagline "Feel better than you should."

Oh, what a relief that is.

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