Pharma Lions Grand Prix awarded to Ogilvy's Breathless Choir

A highly emotive integrated campaign led by Ogilvy & Mather London - with PR elements delivered by an Omnicom consortium including FleishmanHillard - won several prizes including the overall Grand Prix award tonight at the Pharma Lions in Cannes.

Finding their voice: some of the members of the 18-strong Breathless Choir
Finding their voice: some of the members of the 18-strong Breathless Choir

A total of 57 gold, silver and bronze Pharma Lions were given out on Saturday night, in addition to which the Grand Prix prize was won by Ogilvy & Mather London, in the Devices & Diagnostics category, for its Breathless Choir campaign for client Philips, and its portable oxygen concentrator SimplyGo Mini. The campaign had also been a finalist at a PRWeek awards scheme earlier this year.

While Fleishman is not listed as a winner due to a rule technicality, the festival's organisers have confirmed to PRWeek that Omnicom's One Voice consortium, including Fleishman, is credited as an "additional company" for the campaign. This means these agencies can claim to have won the trophy, and purchase duplicates of the silverware.

The agencies had been briefed to alter perceptions of Philips by emphasising its healthcare products, given that it is better known for consumer goods.

The resulting campaign - in which 18 people with serious breathing difficulties formed a choir under the direction of UK TV starGareth Malone, and performed Every Breath You Take by The Police at the Apollo Theatre in New York. It was covered by major news outlets, viewed millions of times online and has been credited with increasing quarterly sales of the device by 14 per cent.

Gerry Human, global executive creative director, global brand management at Ogilvy & Mather, said: "Breathless Choir worked because it's a powerful story about courage and triumph over adversity. Brands that stand for inspiring values like that are the ones winning in the 21st Century."

The campaign was entered a total of 11 times across two categories (devices and diagnostics) as an example of work in the PR medium and other forms.

The PR element of the campaign also won Silver Lions in both the Devices & Diagnostics and the Corporate Image & Communication categories, two further silver Lions and one Bronze lion, while the Grand Prix itself was awarded for the campaign as a piece of cinema, TV and digital film content.

The shortlist for the Pharma Lions - and sister awards ceremony the Health & Wellness Lions - were announced yesterday (Friday), ahead of the two-day Health Lions festival which kicks off the week-long Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Weber Shandwick, Engine London and India's Medulla also won prizes in the Health Lions.

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