Company: Excedrin (GSK Consumer Healthcare)

Campaign: Excedrin Moments with Angry Mets Fan

Agency: Weber Shandwick

Duration: April 4-7, 2017

Excedrin jumped at the chance to help relieve an angry fan’s headache when he missed opening day of the New York Mets season on Monday due to train delays.

Frank Fleming was on his way to the game when the train in front of his derailed at Penn Station. He sounded off on New Jersey Transit during a brief interview captured by an NBC New York crew. The video of his rant quickly went viral.

See also: Ogilvy CommonHealth launches new agency for smaller clients

Within hours of hearing about the story, the PR team at Excedrin reacted by providing Fleming with two tickets and a private car ride to Friday’s Mets game against the Miami Marlins. Excedrin’s speedy move helped them create a unique buzz for the brand, landing interviews for Fleming in New York Daily NewsMaxim, and Fox Sports.


Fleming’s afternoon interview on Monday, April 3, gained instant traction on and on NBC New York’s branded social channels. Several other publications also ran feature stories on the passionate fan’s epic rant.

On Tuesday, April 4, Weber Shandwick, Excedrin’s PR, creative, and social AOR, brought up the idea of reaching out to Fleming.

“From a PR and social perspective, we look to identify cultural moments that are headache-inducing.” explained Scott Yacovino, senior brand manager at Excedrin. “We’ve all been in that moment where you’re so excited to go to an event and [then a] mass transit headache [happens]; it was a no-brainer for the brand to jump in.”

See also: EvolveMKD picks up Merz’s Mederma account

The campaign team’s strategy hinged primarily on earned media and making sure that Fleming was a good fit for the campaign.

“We wanted to make sure [Fleming] was a person who we wanted to align with the brand,” said Yacovino. “The PR team did due diligence to check on that.”

The brand planned a media outreach strategy which would help tell Fleming’s story and also highlight the Excedrin’s ability to provide headache relief.


On April 4, within just three hours of the PR team’s initial meeting on the campaign, the brand had made contact with Fleming and offered him free tickets and a ride to Friday’s Mets game.

The campaign team quickly secured an exclusive with New York Daily News, which ran later in the afternoon on Tuesday.

The following day, Fleming appeared on the Fox Sports baseball program MLB Whiparound, speaking with hilarious candor to show host Alex Rodriguez. Former Yankees slugger Rodriguez even asked if free Yankees season tickets would convert him from his Mets fandom, to which Fleming flatly responded, “No.”

See also: Why Excedrin embraced the headache of a contentious election season

On Thursday, Fleming did an interview with, and appeared on ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show.

Excedrin has a private car lined up for Fleming to make sure he makes it to Friday’s game on time, possibly with some other surprises in the works.

“Our team has worked with the Mets to make sure that we could enhance [Fleming’s] experience while he’s at the game,” said Yacovino.


The story of Excedrin offering to relieve Fleming’s headache has generated 31 feature placements in regional and national outlets, including the New York Daily News, NBC Sports, Deadspin, and Maxim. 

The campaign has generated roughly 83 million media impressions, measured across both traditional and social outlets.

See also: Johnson & Johnson’s Alison Lewis on building memorable brands

“From a marketing perspective, when something falls in your lap that makes sense, sometimes you have to have the courage to jump on it as it is happening and not overthink it,” said Yacovino. “I think there’s a valuable lesson there.”

This effort follows Excedrin’s all-day Twitter #DebateHeadache from last fall, which was inspired by chatter on social about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s presidential debates causing headaches.

This story first appeared in PRWeek.