Give Tylenol to the Kids, Take Advil for Pain

Crimson Hexagon’s battle of the brands series highlights how consumers feel about the brands they interact with on a regular basis. Applying this lens to social media content is intriguing because it provides unique access to the ever-elusive ‘voice of the customer.’ While conventional social media monitoring tools can’t focus on this level of detail, Crimson Hexagon’s underlying science can quantify abstract concepts without keywords.
For our second head-to-head match-up, we looked at two brands of pain reliever that are in most household medicine cabinets: Tylenol and Advil. With the FDA announcement about the risks of acetaminophen earlier this summer and the widespread discussion about the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu), there is no shortage of conversation, advice, and opinion about these brands online.
We analyzed opinions about Tylenol and Advil from April 1st to September 6th of this year. Using our technology, we focused on customers’ experiences with the medications, drawing from blogs, forums, and public Facebook and MySpace content. Here’s what we found:
Themes in Online Conversation: Tylenol & Advil
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Brand Focus: Tylenol
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Brand Focus: Advil
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  • Advil is primarily associated with strong pain relief, especially for headaches (60% combined), while Tylenol has more varied discussion.
  • Overall people seem to think that Tylenol is safer. More people (18% vs. 9%) trust Tylenol enough to give it to their children. While there is conversation about the risks associated with each product, only Tylenol also inspires discussion about its safety and gentleness (8%). 6% of people talk about Tylenol as the brand their doctor recommends while no detectable proportion of the Advil conversation points to a doctorís recommendation.

Trends over time: Tylenol
NOTE: Spike corresponds to FDA recommendation on lower maximum dosage for acetaminophen (June 30, 2009)
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  • When the FDA announced a recommendation to lower dosages of acetaminophen, the main active ingredient in Tylenol, conversation briefly spiked as people became concerned about Tylenol and liver damage, then fell back to its original levels.

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