This is not a new brand but Lemsip’s latest salvo in the war against the uncurable common cold (via our wallets) was new to me when I tried it yesterday. You might think that putting a couple of capsules in your mouth is pretty direct, ditto drinking some Lemsip, but these things are simply not direct enough for the modern convenience-led consumer. This is one of those products where you can see the “customer insight” clear as day: “I want to take Lemsip but I am busy and on the go and do not have any water*”. EUREKA!! Instead I will take this sachet of Lemsip powder which I will pour directly onto my tongue! Then I can get my relief from colds ANYWHERE!!

Admittedly products have been launched on flimsier grounds than this but the non-marketer in me is screaming at this particular straw man, “Just take the sodding tablets without it you gimp!”. The subset of consumers who are too precious to take capsules without water and yet unembarrassed enough to pour purple powder onto their tongues in semi-public is surely tiny. Or perhaps there is something darker at work…

Because as soon as I actually TRIED Lemsip Direct I realised their game: IT IS SPACE DUST. Space dust, the fabled pops-on-your-tongue sweet that was banned** from playgrounds in the 80s, creating an unslakable yearning in a generation of kids who are now weary 30something commuters buying cold and flu remedies. Only now it contains an actual drug too. Gotcha, Lemsip!

*NB the not-needing-water claim is a total lie – you will need water anyway as Lemsip Direct tastes disgusting.

**This is probably an urban myth.