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Advertising / HeadOn

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A "medical" product known for its annoyingly simple commercial. Literally, the entire commercial was as follows:

HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead.
HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead.
HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead.
HeadOn is available without a prescription at retailers nationwide.

The notorious advertisement, which first aired in June 2006, stemmed from Better Business Bureau objections to the earlier ads' claims of "fast, safe, effective" headache relief.

Sold as a "homeopathic remedy", the product is actually a wax stick that (obviously) does absolutely nothing when applied to the forehead. In other words, it's a scam, or as the late skeptic and illusionist James Randi puts it, "a major medical swindle"! The "active" ingredients are two types of poisonous flowers and a carcinogen, but don't be concerned; as per norm with homeopathy, they are diluted to parts per trillion. You probably encounter higher doses of things sitting on your couch breathing.

Basically, when you tell people that you use HeadOn, you're telling them that you're just rubbing wax with dangerous stuff in it on your head, making yourself look silly in the process (because when viewed from a distance, it looks like you're intentionally rubbing a gluestick on your forehead).

The product was eventually discontinued during the early-2010s for reasons unknown.

Tropes, apply directly to the forehead.

  • Asbestos-Free Cereal: “Available without a prescription!” This is true of many effective over-the-counter medications… it’s also true of most other things that aren’t medicine, like candles.
  • Beige Prose: What does this product actually do? It's an Enforced Trope: Since it's just a stick of wax that has absolutely nothing clinically proven to cure anything, they are not legally allowed to say that it does anything at all.
  • Broken Record: HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead.
  • Exact Words: You'll notice that they don't actually specify in the commercials that the product is intended as a headache cure. This is because the FCC forbids them from making a claim like that without proof it works — so instead they tell you to "apply directly to the forehead" and hope you'll come up with your own reasons as to why you should do that.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The unusual format of the ad was caused by obligations not to claim that HeadOn actually worked.
  • Our Slogan Is Terrible: Later iterations of the commercial, probably aware of its Memetic Mutation status, had it humorously interrupted by a spokesperson who complained about how annoying the commercial was— but they still loved the product!
  • Rule of Three: The announcer says "HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead" three times, since repeating things that many times helps audiences remember something.
  • Self-Deprecation: Eventually they wised up to the mass's opinions about the commercial and had it get cut off for someone to come in and point out how annoying they are, but still commending the product.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The ad repeats to apply the product directly to the forehead without taking into consideration that perhaps just saying it once might work just as well.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: The ad mentions that HeadOn is applied directly to the forehead, but it doesn't explain what it is, or why you'd want to do it. It's actually intended as a headache relief medicine, but due to the lack of actual medicine, giving more details about the product would go against the FCC's rules against making unproven medical claims.