It was as if the longest match in the history of tennis came down from the heavens for the makers of Aleve.
And it’s not much of a stretch to imagine American John Isner or France’s Nicolas Mahut – the two combatants in the more than 11-hour match played over three days at Wimbledon – endorsing the naproxen sodium tablets in the coming days and weeks.
After all, their first-round match was effectively an Aleve commercial, the way rugby games played in the rain evoke Tide and other laundry detergents.
Just days after the pair finished their gruelling affair – Isner prevailed, winning the fifth set 70 games to 68 – Aleve took out a full-page ad on page 2 in the sports section of Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper.
It could hardly have been more simple or effective. Halfway down the white page was a picture of Wimbledon’s iconic green courtside scoreboard showing Isner’s 6–4, 3–6, 6–7 (9-7), 7–6 (7-3), 70–68 victory. (There is no tiebreak in the fifth set at Wimbledon. The eight hours and 11 minutes for the fifth set alone eclipsed the time record for an entire match.)
Down at the bottom of the page: a box of Aleve tablets, which have only been available (via an amusing launch) over-the-counter to Canadians since last summer. (While Aleve has been an over-the-counter medication in the U.S. for years, Canadians either needed a prescription for it or to sneak it back across the border after a road trip across the 49th parallel.)
Aleve moved quickly to associate itself with the match, which received extensive coverage in the international media for several days. It was often the second item on sportscasts, following stories about a little soccer tournament being held in South Africa called the FIFA World Cup. As a result, Aleve left its competition in the dust.
Not only has Aleve succeeded in associating itself with recovery from lengthy sporting competitions, it may also be able to carve out a spill-over niche for other muscle-taxing activities, such as gardening, cleaning out the garage or wrestling with your kids.
Game, set and match, Aleve.