How many times have we said to ourselves, “I wish I knew what it was like to experience the excruciating pain of having a migraine.”
Umm…yeah…if you’re like me, you’ve actually never said that to yourself, but chances are you know someone who unfortunately does suffer from migraines, and you know how excruciating it can be for them. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, 1 in 4 households include someone who suffers from migraines, and more than 90% of people who have a migraine aren’t able to work or function properly while experiencing a migraine attack (and by the way, those attacks can last anywhere from four to 72 hours). One problem for those who suffer from migraines can be the lack of understanding and empathy from family, friends and colleagues. Many people with migraines are told they are exaggerating their symptoms and are told it’s just a bad headache. But now, thanks to Excedrin and virtual reality technology, you can experience symptoms of a migraine through the eyes of a migraine sufferer.
The Excedrin Migraine Experience
Excedrin has created the world’s first migraine simulator. There is an informative video that shows exactly what the technology and simulator does:
The technology allows you to see how people experience a migraine through an immersive experience that creates common symptoms of a migraine including: blurred vision, spotty vision and sensitivity to light and sound. Symptoms are controlled on an iPad where the controller is able to intensify and worsen the conditions with just a swipe of the finger. The person wearing the simulator has no idea when the symptoms will start or stop, and no idea when it will worsen or get better, unfortunately, similar to that of the unexpected time frame in which a migraine sufferer endures.
Because of the strong technology available, non-sufferers could experience what a regular day feels like for others who do suffer, which lead to some breakthroughs and emotional moments and connections. People were surprised and concerned once they experienced the symptoms and the reactions ranged from “I can’t believe you function like that” to “I’ll never doubt you again.”
Why Should We Care?
There are two seminal learning points I, as a migraine naive consumer, took away from the Excedrin Migraine Experience: How virtual reality could help to educate people on other areas in health and how companies can use virtual reality to market its products and services.
This virtual reality technology is now helping Excedrin spread awareness about migraines and educating people on what it feels like to go through life with this chronic condition. While the technology doesn’t simulate everything as exactly the way it would be, it seems to come close enough to help people realize the magnitude that migraines can have in peoples quality of life. If virtual reality can help to educate and inform people on migraines, what other conditions, diseases or treatments could it help bring awareness to? Could people better understand what it’s like to go through chemotherapy? Or what it’s like to have sensory deficits such as sight, sound and touch? Could this finally be away to deepen our empathy, and compassion? The technology is there already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more experiences like this occur in the next few years.
From a marketing and sales standpoint, Excedrin found a new way to promote and sell its product. The company used a two-way communicative, interactive method to engage its audience and build brand awareness. By sponsoring this technology and creating the videos and web content to go along with the Excedrin Migraine Experience, Excedrin reached a wide group of people and got people talking about the experience and the company. Excedrin promoted the experience on its Facebook page, which resulted in more than 1.2 million views, 5.6 thousand likes and reactions, and more than 14,000 people shared the post. All because it did something in a new and unique way.
Within the webpage of the Excedrin Migraine Experience, there are offers for free samples and coupons for a percentage off the company’s products.
I’m curious to know whether or not sales increased because of the Excedrin Migraine Experience and if so, by how much, but it’s very clear to see that at least Excedrin did an excellent job of spreading awareness and getting people to think and talk about migraines more.