New Oxy Acne Treatment Ads Aim To Tickle Dudes' Funny Bones

The Mentholatum Company, Inc. on Monday launched a new TV campaign for its Oxy brand of acne-fighting skincare, featuring offbeat comedy designed to appeal to an adolescent male's sense of humor.

"Faith Healer" and "Badger" will air for several months during such programs as ESPN's "SportsCenter" and Comedy Central's "Mind of Mencia." Up to six versions of "Badger" will be in play during the flight, with new installments of the overarching "Way Better" campaign planned for launch early next year.

The 30-second spots were created by Mentholatum's Oxy brand team and East Aurora, N.Y.-based Cenergy Communications and were directed by Tom DeCerchio, famous for his work as an independent movie director as well as for Budweiser's "Frogs" and "Lizards" spots of the late Nineties.

The Oxy campaign begins with two spots: "Badger," which features an acne-prone teen being attacked by a caged animal, and "Faith Healer," which features a faith healer arriving via airmail to drive out a teen's "acne-causing demons" with a swift smack to the head. The take-way message? Oxy is a "way better" way to go for dealing with acne.



"This demographic doesn't really want to talk or listen about their acne problems. First and foremost, they want to be entertained, and these ads are designed to do just that while still getting the message across," says Todd Cantrell, Oxy brand manager. "These concepts were well-received by test groups in this target demo, so we're really excited about this launch."

According to Cantrell, both of the two introductory spots are set in bizarre locations that Cantrell says play to the random, quirky humor favored by this age group, and the campaign was designed to cultivate the brand's position as a favorite among teenage and young adult males.

"Since we acquired the Oxy brand in 2004 we've created packaging, fragrances and formulations that have made younger men feel comfortable about purchasing and using these products," says Cantrell. "We believe the advertising should follow suit, and that means going beyond the typically female-focused 'problem-solution' format that is prevalent in this product category, and combining it with the type of humor young guys appreciate."

Oxy has been around for more than a quarter century. Its parent, the Mentholatum Co., was acquired by Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, in 1988 after nearly a century in private hands.

The TV ads can be seen at the products' Web site,

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