A deeply emotional campaign developed by Ogilvy & Mather London for Philips Healthcare showing people with lung conditions like cystic fibrosis and COPD performing at New York City’s Apollo Theater took the pharma Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Health festival of creativity in June.
The campaign, Breathless Choir, seeks to raise awareness about COPD. The 18 choir participants, each of whom has a speech- or respiration-limiting condition, used a Philips SimplyGo Mini, a portable oxygen concentrator.
“They tell a story that is uplifting, complex, and cinematic,” said Alexandra von Plato, this year’s pharma jury president and group president of North America for Publicis Healthcare Communications Group.
The campaign also contributed to a boost in sales, according to the entry. Revenue for Philips’ oxygen devices rose 14% in the quarter that the campaign launched, as compared to the previous quarter.
The campaign, which launched in November, targeted both healthcare professionals and consumers and was set to The Police’s now-iconic “Every Breath You Take.”
The campaign is a departure in many ways from traditional medical device marketing, which often relies on the technical mechanics of how a device works. In this campaign the product is visible, but not the focus of the film. Royal Philips, which owns Philips Healthcare, has a long history of marketing healthcare products and sells electronic toothbrushes, baby monitors, and other consumer products as well. This may be one reason why the company was interested in marketing a medical device in this manner, von Plato noted.
“They took a very untraditional approach to marketing a healthcare product,” she said.
What stood out to von Plato in this year’s entries was the scope of the cinematic storytelling, as was the case for Breathless Choir. Many entries featured long-form storytelling, exposing the drama and complexity of the human condition, in contrast to traditional healthcare marketing, which generally focuses on explaining how a therapy or a medical device works (Más)