What the @**!!: Nurofen celebrates analgesic power of swearing in new campaign

TV ad replaces swear words with punctuation marks to promote new plasters.

A new spot from Nurofen features a series of people responding to sudden pain in the way humans have done since the dawn of language: with a loud outburst of four-letter words.

But rather than featuring actual swear words that would banish it to late-night slots, the spot, "@**!!", created by McCann London, features brash, colourful speech bubbles with the naughty words replaced with punctuation marks.

It is based on the insight that swearing out loud can actually help to alleviate pain.

The campaign is the first for Nurofen by McCann since owner RB moved the account from Wieden & Kennedy in May last year. McCann has worked on Dettol, another RB brand, since 2016.

It was created by James Crosby and William Cottam, and directed by Tim & Joe through Friend.

The activity, which is supported by digital and radio, promotes the new Joint and Muscular Pain Relief Medicated Plaster, which Nurofen said was the only pain-relief patch on sale that works for 24 hours.

It is part of the brand’s new global platform, which aims to position Nurofen as an authority on human and medical science and the understanding of pain management. Nurofen said that further new products would be launched in the coming months and marketed with further "interesting facts" about how to relieve pain.

Alexei Berwitz and Rob Webster, creative directors at McCann London, said: "The pharma category is rife with formula and cliché, so it’s refreshing to be allowed to create something different, showcasing the scientific knowhow behind the Nurofen brand."

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