This ad for Tylenol Children’s Cold is in the form of one of those word find puzzles that some people like to do. Personally, I think word find puzzles are a phenomenal waste of time and when I came across this ad I did what most people would probably do…turn the page.

But let’s look beyond my glib dismissal of this ad. The ad is for people who have kids. Since I don’t have kids, I’m not the target audience. I bet that kids love word find puzzles. Parents probably have spend time helping their kids do this type of puzzle. Since parents see these puzzles all the time, they might be inclined to stop and take a look at the ad.

The parent finds the hidden words in the ad—only they’re not so hidden because they’re in red. Click on the image above and try looking at some of the words and phrases. They relate to colds:

  • Warm Bath
  • Saline Spray
  • Plenty of Fluids
  • etc.

After you’ve spent a minute or two doing this, take a look at the copy under the puzzle. A curious thing happens. Since your eye has spent some time picking out the red letters from the surrounding gray letters, the red words in the copy jump right out at you. That’s where they put the ad’s message:

For colds that come with pain, Children’s TYLENOL Plus Multi-Symptom Cold combines relief for the cold symptoms you can see with the trusted pain relief of Children’s TYLENOL to ease their painful symptoms that may be harder to find.

It’s a bit wordy, but it’s an interesting effect.

By Marc Librescu


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