The Vicks® legacy is about more than just cold and flu medicine. It’s about giving families the opportunity to continue life—even on sick days—for more than 100 years.
Historical Vicks ads are for entertainment purposes only. Historical product claims may no longer be valid. For information on current Vicks products and usage, go to the Browse Products section. Use all products as directed.
Lunsford Richardson, a pharmacist in Greensboro, North Carolina, creates and sells 21 home remedies under the “Vicks” name in the 1890s. Of the 21 home remedies, the best-selling version by far is the Vicks® Croup and Pneumonia Salve.
The salve’s ingredients include menthol and a little-known Japanese ingredient. When the ointment is rubbed onto a person’s chest, body heat vaporizes the menthol, releasing soothing, medicated vapors for hours.
When the Spanish flu hit the U.S. from 1918 to 1919, Vicks VapoRub sales skyrocketed from $900,000 to $2.9 million in just one year. Sales increased so dramatically that the Vicks plant operated day and night to keep up with orders.
In 1931, Vicks® expanded its product line with two new products: Vicks® Va-tro-nol Nose Drops and Vicks® Cough Drops (pictured).
Vicks® Cough Drops are the first major product to join VapoRub in the Vicks® family. They were an immediate hit, selling more than 25 million packages in the first year.
In 1952, Vicks® Cough Syrup launches in the U.S.; it's the first liquid cough syrup introduced by Vicks.
After testing under the Medi-Mist Nasal Spray for three years, Vicks® Sinex Nasal Spray is introduced nationally in the U.S. in 1959 to help provide relief from nasal congestion associated with hay fever and head colds.
Pictured is an introductory package for the Medi-Mist Spray.
Based on findings from the Vicks® Research and Development team, NyQuil® is first test marketed in the U.S. in 1966. Although there are alternative theories, legend has it that the name was derived from the term “nighttime tranquility."
The product’s liquid form is revolutionary for the category. Previously, tablets were the preferred form of cold treatments while liquid medications were used only for coughs.
After being in development for nearly a decade, Vicks® DayCare is launched in the U.S. in 1976. The product was initially tested under the DayQuil™ brand name, but research didn’t show any perceived benefits by associating it with NyQuil™.
To help promote the non-drowsy product benefit, the DayCare product is given a sunny orange color to signify daytime.
In 1991, the first Vicks® NyQuil® extension outside of the bottle makes its U.S. debut in the form of NyQuil LiquiCaps.
LiquiCaps™ are the first over-the-counter multi-symptom cold remedy that puts liquid medicine in a capsule. The product is also intended to serve as a possible launchpad for solid forms in other Vicks® cold medicine segments.
All colds and flus are not created equal, that's why we created Vicks® DayQuil™ and NyQuil™ SEVERE. It provides relief for your ugliest, nastiest, roughest, toughest cold symptoms.
Vicks® has been the relief people used for over 100 years and will continue to build on its legacy by developing and refining products people can trust for years to come.