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Philips and celebrity choirmaster raise COPD awareness

Gareth Malone created a 'breathless choir' for the Ogilvy & Mather London campaign

Philips Gareth Malone breathless choir 

Celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone has leant his talents to a new chronic obstructive pulmonary disease awareness campaign launched by Royal Philips.

The centrepiece of the campaign was the creation of a Malone-led choir - the 'Breathless Choir' - made up of 18 New York strangers who are living with chronic respiratory conditions, including COPD, cystic fibrosis and asthma. 

The group was brought together for a week under Malone's tutelage and many of them previously thought they would never sing again. 

The story of the unlikely choir is told in a moving film, which sheds light on their stories and follows them from rehearsals to a performance in Harlem's world-famous Apollo Theater, in front of family and friends. 

Malone said: “I am no doctor but I see the impact music has made on these people's lives. And I see how much good singing has done in their souls and I think a little bit in their bodies as well.”

The main film is supported by four additional online films that focus on a different aspect of the singers' journey. Viewers learn that many of the group have difficulty speaking, let alone singing, which further emphasises their achievements. A number of them can be seen using Philips' latest portable oxygen concentrator (POC), SimplyGo Mini.

The Philips Breathless Choir video (view it on YouTube)

Richard Wergan, global EVP and head of brand at Philips, said: “The formation of the choir is a great example of how meaningful innovation can actually improve people's lives. The Breathless Choir has had a profound effect on everyone involved, and it has radically improved their lives. We hope that it will also help to raise awareness and understanding of COPD and other chronic respiratory conditions, so that patients around the world can lead a healthier and more active life.”

The Ogilvy & Mather London campaign is part of a wider drive to change public perception of the Royal Philips brand, from that of an electronics company to that of a health technology organisation.

Gerry Human, chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather London, said: “Philips is a company that thinks about the world in a unique and caring way, so it's fitting that the 'Breathless Choir' campaign breaks with traditional health tech category clichés. An idea with such emotive power will undoubtedly do a great job of shifting people's perception of Philips.”

The campaign was supported by a social media campaign in the US and UK, as well as PR and partnership activity.

Article by
Tara Craig

10th December 2015

From: Marketing



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