Vicks History

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A Century of Powerful

Relief and Caring
Our Difference:
A Century of Caring

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.

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1890's

Vicks® Croup and Pneumonia Salve

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.

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1919

VapoRub

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.

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1931

Vicks® Cough Drops

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.

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1952

Vicks® Cough Syrup

In 1952, Vicks® Cough Syrup launches in the U.S.; it's the first liquid cough syrup introduced by Vicks.

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1959

Sinex™ Nasal Spray

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.

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1966

VICKS® NYQUIL™

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.

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1976

VICKS® DAYCARE™

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.

our difference 1890 cough pnemonia salve

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1991

VICKS® NYQUIL™ LIQUICAPS

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.

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2012

ZZZQUIL™ WARMING BERRY LIQUID & LIQUICAPS®

For those with occasional sleeplessness, we created ZzzQuil, a non-habit forming OTC Sleep-Aid. It’s not for colds. It’s not for pains. It’s to simply help you sleep soundly and wake refreshed.

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2013

NYQUIL™ AND DAYQUIL™ SEVERE

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.

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2015

ZZZQUIL™ CALMING VANILLA CHERRY & SOOTHING MANGO BERRY ALCOHOL FREE LIQUID

We introduced two new ZzzQuil Liquid flavors for those with occasional sleeplessness: Calming Vanilla Cherry & Soothing Mango Berry. They still aren’t for colds and pains. They were created to continue helping you sleep soundly and wake refreshed.

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A FUTURE OF CARING

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.

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