Alka-Seltzer has been a go-to solution for hangover relief since its launch during Prohibition. 

Still, the product has rarely been pitched to consumers with that angle in mind. Instead, its ability to quell the headaches and acid indigestion that accompany hangovers was passed via word-of-mouth along like an open secret. 

However, that all changed recently when Bayer launched its latest Alka-Seltzer hangover relief product with Grammy-winning rapper and producer T-Pain leading the campaign for the new formula. 

Bayer and influencer agency Linqia looked for a face of the effort, which would be a primarily social media campaign. They wanted someone who could update the brand’s iconic “plop, plop, fizz, fizz” jingle for a new generation and found their ideal collaborator in T-Pain. 

T-Pain is at Tree Sound Studio promoting the new Alka-Seltzer Hangover Relief jingle on Tuesday, May 03, 2022 in Norcross, Ga. (Jenni Girtman/AP Images for Alka-Seltzer)

“He transcends a lot of demographics and there are so many people listening to him through the music he creates and the music that he produces,” explains Denise Vitola, VP of brand integration, public relations, social and influencer at Bayer. 

She also notes his well-known connections to drinking culture. 

“We wanted somebody who had some relevance to drinking. T-Pain wrote ‘Buy U a Drank’ and he also has written a couple of cocktail recipe books. He talks about hangovers, about having to be at a concert and then be on the road the next day,” she says. “For me, and all of us at Bayer, we thought he’s hitting on so many of the criteria that we’re looking for.”

“We uncovered an insight that many people were already using Alka-Seltzer for hangovers,” Vitola adds. “If people are using it, why don’t we make a product that’s specially formulated for hangovers and then we could market it as such?”

Vitola and Bayer then turned their focus to millennials, the principal target of the campaign. “Millennials are getting a little bit older. There was a time when they could bounce back from a hangover but the older you get, it’s more challenging to have to go to work the next day,” she explains. 

The result is an Alka-Seltzer jingle with an updated beat—one that resonated with audiences. Key results from the campaign include 13 million media impressions, 34,000 clicks to retailer pages and more than 25,000 products added to retailer carts totaling over $300,000 in value. 

Keith Bendes, VP of strategy at Linqia, credits some of the success to the nature of the partnership between Bayer and T-Pain. 

“I think there’s a healthy skepticism these days when it comes to celebrity sponsorships, but the reason why this campaign resonated so much is because T-Pain was acting as a creator,” he says. “It wasn’t simply a matter of his holding up a box of the product. It was a collaboration using his talents as a creator in addition to him representing the product.” 

While Vitola is generous with her praise for T-Pain as an enthusiastic partner who has been central to the campaign’s success, she offers a roadmap that is relevant to other efforts. The hangover relief product began with human insights about how consumers were already using Alka-Seltzer, paired with thinking about how to speak to consumers in a relevant way. Then the campaign successfully tapped into elements of pop culture.

“If you have the best of all those three things, then you can start to create what people like to call ‘lightning in a bottle,’” Vitola says. “Things will take off because you’re naturally inserting the brand and the communications into things that are surrounding you rather than trying to force something down the throat of your consumer.”