Ad Space – HeadOn (Apply Directly to the Forehead)

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
HeadOn (apply directly to the forehead)

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
HeadOn (apply directly to the forehead)

Of all the commercials I’ve covered for this column, this may be the first that was created entirely out of desperation.

If you’ve watched the ad, you likely have the phrase “HeadOn: apply directly to the forehead” stuck in your head. You also likely have no idea what HeadOn actually is, or what applying it directly to the forehead is supposed to do.

The short version is that HeadOn is a topical cream that’s supposed to relieve headaches. They couldn’t say that in the commercial, though, on account of the fact that it doesn’t, y’know, work. There’s no evidence that it relieves headaches whatsoever. And any attempt to claim that it does would bring the Better Business Bureau down on them like an executioner’s axe.

So how do you advertise a product when you can’t legally say what the product is for? HeadOn seems to have settled for just getting its name out there and showing how it’s used, leaving the “why should I buy this?” question for people to figure out on their own. And if that’s not enough to fill a 16 second ad spot … well, just put the audio on a loop and wait it out.