another day, another sinus issue and another world record attempt at highest number of consecutive sneezes. other than chopping my nose off (and mind you, i have thought long and hard on many a desperate night while wading in a pool of mucus), i usually just pop in my choice drug – panadol.

panadol is cure-all remedy for most. and glaxosmithkline knows this all too well, re-packaging it as the panacean pill. product line-up to date reads panadol cold, fever, menstrual pains, headache, and extra (how is this different from popping double dose of those bad boys?). perhaps they should next ground it so consumers can sprinkle it on like magic dust. healing +10.

so now, i’m contemplating a letter to the gods at glaxo:

Dear Corporate Suits of Bottom Line-Centric Pharmaceutical Giant,

As an ardent user of your flagship off-the-shelf pharmaceutical product, Panadol, I am taking the liberty to provide some hopefully valuable customer feedback.

First off, I would like to commend you on a product that has satisfactorily lived up to its expectations without any major side-effects, save that one incident (adjective-riddled letter to legal dept dated 23 Jan 2002 threatening class-action lawsuit refers). I have now had a second opinion on my third nipple and have been assured it is not cancerous. As much as I appreciate the generous gift hamper of cosmetic foundation, I will not be needing it. My unfortunate side-effect has found its niche at dull parties.

Having gained market penetration, I can understand the compulsion to leverage on your market-share success through product development. However, I would like to bring your attention to the confusing array of products that have since been introduced and highlight the potential danger of product cannibalization. In cases where I, a simple consumer, display symptoms which matched more than one of your products e.g. when bothered by a headache and a cold, I may be posed with an unnecessary dilemma on which Panadol to consume and to avoid adding to the headache, may be forced to pick up Tylenol.

My suggestion here is to have hybrid packaging of products such as Panadol Headache-Cold or Panadol Fever-Extra. After all, one symptom will usually appear with another. Product-pairing will not only push up volumes but will ensure that less popular products are purchased as well. That said, it is a given that Panadol Menstrual Pains should always be accompanied with Panadol Headache for the affected partners.

It also makes economic sense and sound business strategy to ride on the product development wave and capture new market shares by introducing new remedies. Based on my thirty-(cough) years of experience with ailments and pains (physical deformities notwithstanding), I have a few suggestions of new Panadol products to be made available:

1. Panadol Scathing Remarks – Targeted at customer relations officers, waiters, telemarketers, insurance agents and husbands of expecting mothers. This product should not only sedate the consumer but should primarily target the auditory senses, numbing it with increased dosage. Desired side effect: fixated grin.

2. Panadol Indecision – For politicians and women drivers. Dosage should be controlled to avoid quick-witted thinking and overpowering conviction when consumed in large quantities by target market.

3. Panadol Heartbreak – Should be included in vending machines at schools and university dormitories. Product tie-ups could see this packaged with emo band CDs.

4. Panadol World Cup Season – To be made available once in four years at pubs, coffee shops late nights and at office buildings early mornings. Re-designing the pills as replica official world cup footballs will go down well with target market. As will including a Singapore pools brochure with the directions.

5. Panadol Crabs – Product package should qualify that product should be orally consumed and not applied topically. Product-pairing with Panadol Headache could adopt promotional theme around the tagline “Now she has no excuse to say no”.

6. Panadol Naggings – Think huge mouth-stoppering pill. Directions should insist consumers close mouth and chew on the pill 1,523,327 times. Swallow. Repeat.

7. Panadol Low Self-Esteem – Possibly the most challenging product to introduce as ingredient should include “herbal enhancements” to achieve desired effect of delusions of grandeur. Suggest R&D team conduct study trips to Amsterdam for fact-finding expeditions. Suggest raw materials team conduct study trip to Columbia for logistical purposes.

8. Panadol Menstrual Pains Extra – This product will sell itself across both genders. Just highlight “Extra” in bold.

I hope you will seriously consider my suggestions favourably. Do feel free to contact me should you want to show your gratitude through more gift hampers.

Yours hypochondriacly,

Mas


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