“For manly pain” – from drugs to brands

With the popularity of self-care products growing, brands become more and more significant. As the differences between products are often quite small, image plays an important role in the purchasing decision. Burana is a prime example of a successful brand.

Burana is introduced as a prescription drug in the late 1970s. It is the first painkiller in Finland that contains ibuprofen. Burana 200 mg tablets become available over the counter in 1986, but the triumphal march begins three years later, when Burana 400 mg tablets become available for sale. Attuned to emerging trends, the marketing department at Orion decides to market the new tablets for “manly pain”.

“In the 1980s, it was still quite common to think that it was important to endure pain, particularly for men. We wanted to change this notion,” said Pekka Järvensivu, Medical Director at Orion, in 1996.

The timely slogan seemed to hit a nerve among competitors, and the Medical Advertising Board banned the campaign, which actually brought additional attention.

Of course, many other qualities are also associated with Burana: it is effective and fast-acting, and has no side effects. It is promoted by football teams and ski jumpers, for example. It is an ideal painkiller for a time when maintaining well-being is beginning to be at least equally important as treating illness. The marketing focuses on feeling good – on a lack of pain instead of pain.

Perhaps the strongest sign of its popularity is that Burana is gradually becoming a common noun. And if branding is about promises, Burana has certainly delivered: consumers have repeatedly selected it as the most reliable painkiller in Finland.