This is the story of the man who came up with Alabukun and why it is never advertised.
The Alabukun powder is like St. Louis sugar, a product deep in Nigeria's pop culture. Without any advert or commercial, Alabukun remains insanely popular among generations in Nigeria. It has remained relevant through the years and it is very much a household name.
The medicinal powder which is cheap was discovered by a man called Jacob Sogboyega Odulate. He was born in 1884 in Ikorodu. When he was 14 years old, Odulate was determined to make a name for himself. He trekked from Lagos to Abeokuta in three months.
He would start his pharmaceutical business in the rocky city. In 1918 he came up with Alabukun, the wonder powder that is used to treat everything from a migraine to Myocardial Infarction. Odulate's laboratory was located in Sapon, Abeokuta in Ogun state. It was there he mixed ingredients from Liverpool which include acetylsalicylic acid and caffeine to create the powder. A packet of Alabukun is said to contain "760 mg of acetylsalicylic acid and 60 mg of caffeine making a total of 820 mg."
The success of Odulate's drug is down to the fact that it is a mix of European and traditional medicine. Throughout its 9 decades of existence, Alabukun has never been advertised but it is still very much in demand.
One reason why Alabukun was not advertised was because of its ingredients. It would have made it impossible for it to be in commercials. Pharmacists would have forced the drug out of business.
Another reason for Alabukun not having commercials was because it was wildly popular when it came out. There was a huge demand from consumers.
Next year Alabukun will be 100 years old. No Nigerian product comes to mind that is a century old and still relevant.