Popular puppet back for latest Robax campaign

Woody is front and centre of national ad effort from Toronto's Taxi

Brenda Bouw July 13, 2016

Robax is once again using its Woody puppet to promote its back pain medication in its most recent campaign.

The ads, created by Toronto-based Taxi, show the wooden icon watching people strain their backs in situations such as playing tennis and dancing at an office party, and then offering relief.

Taxi executive creative director Jordan Doucette said the brand wanted to continue using Woody in its ads, given the character’s popularity among consumers.

“We thought, let’s really embrace that and find a way to bring him back … but make sure there’s a creative twist to it,” Doucette said.

The campaign targets people who didn’t realize they could take Robax for more minor incidents, such as those featured in the spots.

Doucette said the campaign was primarily a digital buy, aimed at people who go online looking for solutions to ease their back pain. Digital includes video and banner ads. There is also a national TV spot in both English and French. MEC handled the media planning and the digital buy, while MediaCom executed the TV buy.

Robax Canada said it wanted to evolve the creative to show what back pain sufferers may be missing out on.

“We wanted to reinforce that we are the back care specialists – we understand what it means to live with back pain, and we are the brand that has your back,” Ted Ykema, Pfizer’s consumer healthcare marketing director said in a release.

Pfizer said the Woody character evolved over the last two decades from a real marionette to a CG puppet.

“When we went into creative development for this campaign, we did some initial research and we heard from virtually everyone the incredibly positive association they had with Woody and the Robax brand when he was an actual marionette,” the company said in an email to Marketing. “We jumped on this insight – creating an entire world on a puppet stage, to tell our stories.”

Taxi took on the Robax portfolio after holding company WPP PLC combined the agency with Young & Rubicam last year.