Bursting the bubbles

You wake up thinking death might not be so tragic after all. It could, in fact, be a blessed relief. The bastard cat dons a pair of clogs and hornpipes his way across the bedroom floor. If he sits on my head again, he’s toast! Mmmm toast, now there’s an idea. These symptoms can only add up to one thing – a hangover. Every leaden movement, every aching muscle, every note played by the guest bass-player in my head underlines my worst fears, I’ve embraced the festive season with too much enthusiasm.

How can I wipe the slate clean? I shuffle to my medicine cupboard, in search of a cure. I open the door and am confronted by a sea of blue packs replete with bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles. My stomach heaves.

Did I really have a vindaloo? Maybe Andrews will sort me out. I peer at the small print on the back. “Refreshes and revitalises your digestive system… relieves upset stomach and symptoms of over-indulgence.” Sounds good so far “…can also relieve constipation.” Well, maybe not. That’s not a problem after a night boozing and a visit to the curry house. On to the next aquatic, bubble-ridden blue pack, Alka Seltzer XS. The print is too small to read. I move on to my girlfriend’s supply of Resolve. The red band with the descriptor “for the morning after” magnetises me. OK, this is the one for me. I’ll just pop a sachet in a glass of water. I wonder if Resolve will live up to its name and cure me of this self-inflicted ailment. Perhaps it will infuse me with the resolve to never booze again. I wish.

The effervescence is obviously catching, I’m already looking forward to a bacon buttie at the local caff. Why is food more appealing than the pharmaceutical cures? It’s not that you want a million and one grease-laden calories first thing in the morning, it’s because the remedies are so deadly dull. Let’s face it, most people enjoy getting drunk and, while you might wake up filled with remorse, you see the funny side soon enough. Why can’t the packaging designers?

My mind wanders to new remedies. How about a range of cures endorsed by celebrity drinkers – Shane McGowan, Keith Floyd, Oliver Reid or Gazza? I could relate to that. Maybe they could be dispensed next to the condom machine in the pub? Or bought over the counter at closing time – cheekily branded Last Orders? How about a cure which plays on flashbacks called How Many Beers? I chuckle to myself as I visualise the ultimate joke, a hangover cure with a beaming barman on-pack.

If I can think like this between jitters, why can’t the pharmaceutical companies? Come on, get brave, invent some dedicated hangover cures and have some fun with the branding. The target audience is young, predominantly male and obviously fond of beer. Given that humour has been used effectively to advertise the likes of Andrews and Alka Seltzer on TV, why not cross the communications divide and apply it on-pack?

We don’t need more blue “bubbly” packs, what we need is a brand ready to share the joke…

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