At the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, misinformation spread rapidly via mainstream and social media that left many questioning the safety of ibuprofen to manage Covid-19 symptoms. At the time, there was no medical consensus that could dispel the rumors circulating about ibuprofen; and as a result, there was an information gap growing about ibuprofen. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the makers of Advil, engaged Edelman to quickly address the issue and develop a plan to correct the misinformation and protect the brand from future risk.


Time was essential to solve this quickly growing issue. Within a week, our cross-discipline team was engaged and delivering early, fact-based strategic recommendations. Using daily social and earned media monitoring to guide us, we developed a microsite to serve as the factual information hub, company statements, social media posts and launched targeted advertising that drove people to the microsite to learn the facts. By early May 2020, we had activated the key tenets of a crisis response, but we could only go so far with the information at our disposal. We recognized that in order to change minds about Advil, we needed to better understand the consumers impacted by the issue at-hand. We began with a political-style segmentation study to identify consumer segments who were at-risk of losing trust in Advil because of exposure to misinformation that left them in doubt about the product’s use for Covid-19 symptoms. Using the results from the study, we created hyper-tailored communications to increase the consumers’ trust in Advil and to help make them more likely to buy the product once again.


The microsite has garnered more than 250,000 views, and top-performing content across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has driven approximately 120M impressions. Using findings from our segmentation study to develop and test various types of creative, we were able to determine which themes and pieces of creative helped to drive greater trust in Advil. Furthermore, in the midst of this crisis, we launched the brand's newest innovation in 25 years—Advil Dual Action, the first and only FDA approved pain relief medication to combine Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. This launch has seen great success, with sales shattering projections.