From A-choo to A-ha! Unlikely Innovations

Illustration from an 1894 Vicks print advertisement

When you think “innovation,” Vicks isn’t a brand that immediately comes to mind, is it?

While there’s no “technology” in its most traditional sense, there’s a whole lot that goes on behind-the-scenes with Vicks product development, especially when it comes to our ingredients. Because at Vicks we know that you have been loyal to us for more than 125 years, which is why we continue to innovate for you and your everyday.

Each product is made up of the perfect concoction of ingredients, but there’s one particular ingredient that is found within each of our product lines – and it’s curiosity.

So while you’re covering your mouth as you sneeze, we’re uncovering the innovations behind the products you know and love.


Image of 1894 Vicks Jar

Originally named “Vicks Family Remedies” in 1894, our most sought-after product was Croup & Pneumonia Salve. It was created by Lunsford Richardson out of love and concern for his sick son.

Young Smith Richardson had a severe case of croup. Lunsford combined unique ingredients into a salve that when heated by the body would release soothing vapors that provides cough relief. The boy soon recovered.

Years later, the very boy who inspired the salve would change its name to Vicks VapoRub and sell it in the familiar blue jar. Read more about Vicks origin story.

Vicks VapoStick

Vicks VapoStick

Fast forward to 2021, and Vicks has unlocked a new innovation – Solid-Water™ Technology. It starts with the non-greasy, lightweight, water-based formula that contains the soothing Vicks fragrance that families all know, love and trust.

What’s Solid-Water™ Technology?
A small amount of crystallizing agent triggers a reaction to form crystals that have large empty spaces. These spaces trap both the Vicks fragrance and water. The high level of water gives you high “spreadability,” and as you apply the stick, the Vicks fragrance and water evaporation provide double-cooling. And thanks to its easy to use no touch application, it’s as easy as open-swipe-sooth.

No mess; just soothing Vicks vapors.

But before your cold & flu symptoms even arise, a strong immune system helps you feel your best so you can live life to the fullest. That’s why we developed Vicks Ultra Immunity Daily Boost.

Vicks Ultra Immunity Daily Boost

Image of Ultra Immunity Daily Boost

Vicks Ultra Immunity Daily Boost is the only Immune Supplement in the United States that combines BB-12® Probiotic Immune Support & EpiCor® Immune Booster - two proven immune strengthening ingredients - to strengthen your body’s natural defenses*.

What’s BB-12®?
Long answer: Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis. Longer answer: BB-12® is a quality live probiotic strain that adds more good bacteria to your gut to support your natural immune defenses.

BB-12® is world’s best documented probiotic Bifidobacterium, having been described in more than 300 scientific publications out of which more than 100 are publications of human clinical studies. And it’s a proven solution to support both healthy gastrointestinal microbiota and immunity.1

It’s origin? Global bioscience company Chr. Hansen’s collection of dairy cultures, which has been used in has been used in infant formula, dietary supplements and fermented milk products around the world.

What’s EpiCor?
EpiCor whole food fermentate is specially formulated with fermented yeast to help boost your immunity*.

And how was it discovered? From an a-ha moment.

In the late 1800’s, C.W. Bloomhall was just a young boy growing up on his family farm. By closely working with the animals, he noticed that those fed fermented foods seemed to be healthier than animals fed just simple grains. Many years go by and upon his retirement in 1943, Bloomhall tested his theory that fermented foods provided unique health benefits – and they did. This led Bloomhall to found the Diamond V® company to develop a specialized fermented ingredient that would improve the health and productivity of livestock.

Here’s where it gets interesting... It’s now 1998, and it appears that Diamond V factory employees who were exposed daily to the animal feed were not calling out sick. Why? After quite a few studies, the findings showed that the fermented product supported the immunity of those working in the factory.

After even more clinical research to show the safety and efficacy of whole food fermentate for humans, this led to the discovery of EpiCor – a now trusted ingredient for immune and gut health.

So, when BB-12 is paired with EpiCor in Vicks Ultra Immunity Daily Boost, it creates the perfect blend of two immune strengthening ingredients which have been clinically studied and are proven to strengthen your body’s natural defenses and support your daily immune health. Great for daily, all-year round use – and works better than a gummy.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

A-choo to a-ha!
So, whether working in the lab or on a farm and everywhere in between, these innovations and the stories behind them show that discoveries can be made in the most unlikeliest of places. At P&G, our curiosity is relentless; we’re always exploring where the friction is for consumers in how they take care of their families and their homes to understand tensions and unlock potential solves – because we fall in love with the problem, not the solution.

To learn more about P&G’s innovative history, visit https://us.pg.com/pg-history/.