Category Archives: Health

Dear Sudocrem

Sudocrem LogoDear Sudocrem,

Thank you for being an iconic brand that’s on the move.

Too often category leading iconic brands rest on their laurels, failing to capitalise on and leverage their equity – they’re known for being good at one thing and that’s good enough for them.

But not you.

You’re not satisfied with being the category defining grey-pot-with-white-gunk-in-it-that’s-good-for-nappy-rash-and-some-other-stuff-too and I thank you for being a great example of a brand that’s not just sitting back, comfortable with business as usual.


I want to thank you for your new ad, the very clear takeout from which is that you’re no longer just a nappy rash brand, but now a brand for all sorts of everyday skin scrapes and scratches.

Aside from being a clever little parody of that famous scene from Jaws (a reference which I suspect might be sadly lost on many people), this ad states very clearly that you’re no longer just for babies’ bums.

Of course people have been using you for much more than nappy rash for many years (i.e. as an antiseptic healing cream) and indeed your packaging has said as much – Eczema, Surface Wounds, Minor Burns, Acne, Bed Sores etc.

But it’s great to see you embracing and making a virtue of these alternative usages and applications.

And it’s a notable change in direction from what you’ve been communicating in the very recent past, which firmly consolidated the perception of you in the Nappy Rash trench.

Secondly, I want to thank you for your recent innovation.


Sudocrem Mousses Logo




A bold but logical step into an adjacent category and of course leveraging all of Johnson & Johnson’s skincare expertise…I don’t know what ProDerm Technology is, but it sounds good, just what my kids need.

And thank you for taking on a triple innovation challenge

  1. Going into a new category (sun protection)
  2. With a new format (sunscreen mousse)
  3. Requiring consumers to adopt a new consumer behaviour (as in “Wayne, will you ask the nanny to mousse baby Klay, ‘cos I cannot reach from my sunlounger?”

I admire your courage and self-belief.

And thank you for your previous innovation – a skin care cream.

Sudocrem Skin Care Cream

sudocrem skincare for grown ups


Thank you for broadening your frame of reference, overtly going after a new target consumer and underlining that you’re about so much more than Nappy Rash.

If it had been me, I would have done the Mousses first and then the Skin Care Cream, but that may be being overly strategic and purist about things.

No doubt you had loads of adults using Sudocrem anyway, so it made sense to develop a product specifically for them, the chances of picking up new users and incremental volume significantly outweighing the inevitable cannibalisation effect.

And who doesn’t want incremental volume?

I do have a slight question mark in my mind about what sits at the heart of the brand at the masterbrand level – the big idea that ties it all together and sits above the Antiseptic Healing Cream, Mousses, Skin Care Cream sub-ranges, but I suspect that will come in due course and I’m looking forward to it.

Thanks again



Dear logo


Thank you for adopting the #firstworldproblems meme for your recent campaign – you put this morning’s shaming and time-wasting dilemma (so what is the difference between a Cappuccino and a Macchiato?) into perspective for me.

Thank you for reminding me that often the most simple connections (firstworld problems / realworldproblems) are the most insightful.

I’m still getting my head around the value of social media (I’ve only dabbled on Twitter and recently felt compelled to deactivate my personal Facebook page on the grounds that the value equation (time invested:value extracted) was not balanced).

So thank you for showing me the value that Twitter can add.


Thanks again,


Dear Hamlet

Dear Hamlet,

Thank you for your wonderful Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet adverts – they are advertising gold:


Like Fawlty Towers, you look unbelievably dated now, but the actual content is sublime.

Despite enjoying your ads (not to mention admiring the ingenuity of the post TV advertising ban work by Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges), I fundamentally believe that the war on tobacco communication has been, and continues to be, a very good thing.

I also concur with those that have argued in favour of the tobacco display ban that are coming in now, on the grounds that displaying cigarettes near to things like chocolate and crisps makes smoking seem like an everyday part of life…which in the interests of the health of the nation, it shouldn’t be.

Having said that, I’m less convinced by the rumoured plain packaging legislation, as I think that opens up a whole world of black-market and counterfeit crime which is damaging in a totally different, but equally impactful, way.

So anyway, thanks Hamlet, for the good old days, for making me want to listen to J. S. Bach’s Air on a G-string in full, and for giving me a laugh.

So long.


Dear waterpik

Dear waterpik,

Thank you for your WP-450 Ultra Cordless Dental Water Jet.

Goodbye flossing, hello plaque-free and guilt-free self-righteousness!

Goodbye to guilty confessions in the dentist’s chair that whilst the new flossing regime had started well enough, it had dwindled by the end of the first week and was non-existant less than a fortnight later.

Let’s face it, unless you’ve got the patience of a saint, the dexterity of an origami champion or you’re actually a dentist (and properly understand that if you don’t do it there’s trouble ahead), flossing is a nightmare:

  • There’s the mouth contortions – just how are you supposed to get to the back?
  • There’s the spatters on the mirror – unavoidable and pretty gross for anyone else that shares the bathroom.
  • There’s the time it takes – it’s the end of the day. I’m tired. I want to be in bed. Now.
  • There’s the loss of blood to your fingers as you wrap the blasted stuff round and round
  • There’s the trying to drop it in the bin so that it actually goes in and doesn’t drape over the edge like a cobweb
  • There’s the lack of any real, tangible, visible evidence that what you’re doing is worth it (at least with brushing your teeth you get fresh breath)
  • There’s the fraying – now I’ve got floss stuck between my teeth along with my dinner: awesome job.
  • There’s the pain – I know I’ve probably never done it right, but it does hurt, even when I’m “gentle”.

As I said, flossing is a nightmare. Tape, Satin, Waxed, Non-Waxed, Unflavoured, Extra Minty, With Aloe Vera – try as Oral-B et al might, it just doesn’t do the trick.

Consequently people (or perhaps just me) don’t want to floss.

But people don’t need to floss.

What they need is to clean the gaps between their teeth (and consequently prevent the build up of plaque and prevent gun disease).

Reminds me of Prof Theodore Levitt:

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

Thanks for reminding me of the Prof – always a pleasurable but beneficial diversion.

Thanks Waterpik WP-450 Ultra Cordless Dental Water Jet…

…you do everything that flossing does that’s good (needs met, benefits delivered)…

…and address all of the barriers (see above)…

…just in a Different, Better, and I suspect Cheaper (in the long-run) way.

Cracking piece of differentiation that.

Now if you could just be less the size of a hairdryer and more the size of something that would fit in my wash bag, that would be marvellous…


Dear Woodward’s Gripe Water

Dear Woodward’s Gripe Water,

Thank you for being wonderfully Victorian. The words “Gripe Water” transport me to another world.

I cannot quite put my finger on why you’re so appealing….it’s a whole load of different things really, so I’ll thank you for all of them:

Thank you for not changing in the 150 years that you’ve been around – it kind of proves that you do what you claim you do. “New improved, Gripe Water, now with Simethicone” (or whatever) just doesn’t hold the same appeal.

Thank you for making me think of all the babies you’ve helped – I like the idea that you were given to my great-grandparents by their parents – in pretty much exactly the same way as we give you to our children.

Thank you for surviving all this time – you’re the sort of brand that I would have imagined might have disappeared along with horse-drawn taxis and the penny-farthing…you make me feel nostalgia for a past that I didn’t experience. (Note to self: Must invent time-machine.)

Thank you for not really bothering to update yourself – it shows a confidence and stoicism that’s admirable.

Thank you for being a constant, whilst parents have been getting  their knickers in a twist. There seems to be so much for parents to worry about these days – the relative merits of the latest babycare fad, what “tog”  sleeping bag baby would prefer, which pram is the most practical, which steriliser is the most sterile, which bottles are / are not BPA-free, which baby-monitor to go for (with or without an integrated room thermometer?), reusable or disposable nappies , etc etc – I like the way you sit in the corner of the bedroom like a wise old owl who’s seen it all before.

Thank you for having owners (formerly SSL International and now Reckitt Benckiser) that either have the good sense or lack of interest to leave you alone, doing what you do best – I get the impression that you’ll never fall into the wrong hands.

And thank you for helping to make Arthur’s tummy feel better. If he knew what was going on, I’m sure he’s appreciate it as much as his Mum and Dad do.

Thanks again.