Rebrand: Vicks VapoRub

Despite Vicks VapoRub being an old school brand, this is one of my favorite projects to walk recruiters through. As the only strategist on this project, I constantly talked to friends, family, and classmates about VapoRub, dove into cultural trends and human truths that an outdated brand could tap into to become relevant again, and worked closely with my teammates to produce a rebrand and creative campaign.

I’m proud of how the strategy for this came to life in the creative. My creative team did a fantastic job taking a somewhat forgettable product and producing surprising, beautiful, and calming ads and experiences that remind people to take care of themselves. This piece was selected to be printed in SIXTY, the VCU Brandcenter’s annual publication of student work that is sent out to agencies across the country.

Create a rebrand and creative campaign to revitalize Vicks VapoRub, a 100-year-old brand that has grown stale.

According to Forbes, 62% of Americans have gone to work sick.
And in 2015, 32% of Americans didn’t use any of their sick leave. 

Clearly, we live in a fast-paced society and think we must constantly be productive. We feel like we don’t have time to get sick, and we ignore our bodies when we’re feeling under the weather.

Sick days exist so people can stay home from work when they aren’t feeling well. But despite having them, we don’t give ourselves permission to take sick days, so we keep pushing through and it takes us longer to heal.

No one tells us that we can – and should – pause and breathe.

Vicks VapoRub gives you permission to take a breath.

Take a breather.


The Creative Campaign:

We focused on cool, calm colors and wanted the new look to reflect a watercolor feel. Since Vicks VapoRub is most often used at home rather than on-the-go, we emphasized closed eyes in a lot of the creative since resting is an important part of recovering from being sick. In all of our creative, we wanted to emphasize the point that people should stay home when they're sick, so our print ads all feature people using Vicks VapoRub at home.



Logo & Package Redesign:

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The new packaging is glass, rather than plastic, and looks like something you'd want to leave out on your bathroom counter rather than hide away in your nightstand. For this, we took inspiration from candles and other home decor.





Most of the print ads revolve around the idea of resting at home when you're sick. But, we know that's not always possible, so the last print ad conveys that even if you still have to do work when you're not feeling well, you can do it at home rather than at the office.




We created an animated billboard whose eyes open and close. The copy reminds those commuting to work while under the weather that there's still time to call in sick, turn around, and go back home.



Product Extensions:


We saw an opportunity to expand VapoRub's product line after looking at social chatter and learning how people are already using VapoRub. Online, we saw that people are creating their own shower bombs. People are searching Pinterest and Google for "DIY bath bombs," and we can see from Google Trends that search interest has been fairly consistent over the past 12 months.

Some people are making shower bombs specifically for when they're sick, and they're using Vicks VapoRub in them to clear up congestion.

In response, we created a Vicks VapoRub shower bomb that releases healing vapor throughout the shower, which is perfect to use when you're congested.




For this one, we took inspiration from VapoRub enthusiasts who swear by rubbing Vicks VapoRub on the bottoms of their feet. We saw this mentioned in articles as well as on social media and online forums.


In response, we designed socks with a lining that prevents the VapoRub from soaking through. At the top of the socks are cartoon eyelids that look open or closed depending on whether or not you fold the top of the socks down.



Stay at Home SIck Kit:

These products can be bought in store or received through the Stay At Home Sick Kit. This is a kit that friends and family can purchase online and send to the sick individuals in their lives, encouraging them to stay home and get better.

Along with the shower bomb and socks, the Stay At Home Sick Kit includes a container of Vicks VapoRub and a one-day subscription to Amazon Video, allowing you to heal in the comfort of your home.




Being sick isn't fun, but we created a Vicks VapoRub Snapchat filter so you can take an "unhealthy selfie" and share it with your friends.




Once people become familiar with VapoRub's new branding and messaging, VapoRub can expand from the sick space into the wellness space, and encourage people to be proactive about staying well. After all, the best way to prevent sickness is to take proactive measures of self-care.

This calming, 30-second radio spot reminds people to breathe -- and not just when they're sick. As the ad states, "On sick days, and on every day, remember to take a moment for yourself."


"Take a Breather"
Instead of listening to another radio ad, 
why don't you take a second to breathe?
Please close your eyes. 
Unless you're driving. In which case, please don't.

On sick days, and on every day,
remember to take a moment for yourself.

Vicks VapoRub.
Take a Breather.


Melissa Jackson (Strategy)
Michael Arroyo (Art Direction)
Chelsea Sams (Creative Brand Management)
Laura Strukl (Experience Design)
Kate Ursu (Copywriting)