Today’s Adweek has an interesting piece about how consumers are using products differently than their intended use for their own “experiential” needs. In other words, they have found experiences that are not contrived by the marketers that push the product.
Preparation H is generally not something you’d dab on while waiting in line outside a Manhattan dance club, but according to recent media coverage, that’s exactly what some men are doing. They’re using the hemorrhoids cream, however, well north of where it’s intended: on their torsos and arms to appear more muscular.
Of course, Preparation H hacks are flipping out…and not embracing a great experiential (and marketing) opportunity:
“We don’t approve or endorse any off-label uses of our products, including Preparation H,” says Millicent Brooks, a representative at Prep H parent company, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare. “We have certain quality-control standards at Wyeth, where unless it has been thoroughly tested, we wouldn’t endorse the use or promote it.”
For years, consumers in Third World countries have been using western products for things not necessarily intended for them. It is widely known that Coca-Cola is a great tummy ache remedy. Some laundry detergents act as good mosquito repellents, and Vaseline can be an ointment for practically everything. In eastern Europe, models frequently wash their hair with mayonnaise.
Read the piece. It’s worth it. Especially the case study of how Bounce turned a weakness (in college, it is known as a great air freshener when smoking weed if you exhale into the sheets stuffed in a toilet paper roll…did I reveal too much?) into a strength with a consumer engagement promotion and campaign.