Cannes Lions


SPN OGILVY, St Petersburg / NOVARTIS / 2012


1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions






'VoltExercise!' is the story of how a brand encouraged an entire country to do physical exercises by smartly integrating a forgotten tradition into the current news agenda, finding an engaging PR format and supporting it with comprehensive communications.

Voltaren pain relief gel needed to increase sales and distinguish itself in a competitive Russian market. Encouraged by USSR mass sports traditions and upcoming international sporting events in Russia, we launched VoltExercise, the largest public exercise session since Soviet times: 10 open-air events in the 7 biggest Russian cities. A fitness world champion was recruited to design exercises preventing joint pain, and the live events were hosted by the coolest instructor - Olympic figure skating champion and TV star Alexey Yagudin. To support VoltExercise events, we worked with a pool of 200 journalists, secured 13 media partners, organized press events in each city, incorporated advertising and enabled on-site engagement.

As a result, Voltaren sales increased 36% nationwide (vs 2010) and it moved from 3rd to 1st place by market share in units (June 2011). Media coverage over 2011 outpaced the closest rival more than 5-fold; no competitor had such powerful newsbreaks. The campaign earned 475 media hits, of which 75% directly mention the VoltExercise or Voltaren brand. Previously featured mainly in medical and health periodicals, Voltaren increased share of coverage in news media 3-fold, in lifestyle media - almost 2-fold. VoltExercise events drew over 5,500 attendees and provoked a wave of requests from local communities to organize similar happenings in their cities.


Timeframe: April 2011-January 2012.

Activities:-Announcing advertising: outdoor, print and radio; educational POSM (leaflets with VoltExercises).

-Creating a target pool of 200 journalists.

-Media partnership with 2 national and 11 regional lifestyle and health outlets.

-Launch press conference (May 13th, Moscow).-Onsite engagement campaign a week before, the day before and on the day of each event: volunteers marching with banners, distributing invitations and souvenirs; a zorb rolling around the venues to attract participants.-Open-air exercise sesions in 7 cities - Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-na-Donu, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan, Novosibirsk (May 14th - June 26th and December 18th): -Held in the most popular public places. -Program: intro by cheerleaders; warm-up with fitness instructors; VoltExercise with Yagudin. -Press briefings before each event. -2 special VoltExercise sessions organized for medical practitioners. -Winter VoltExercise and skating workshop by Yagudin held in Moscow on the Red Square. Famous designer recruited to create winter VoltExercise uniform.


-Sales grew 36% nationwide (May-August 2011 versus 2010).-Voltaren moved from 3rd to 1st place by market share in units (June 2011).-Purchase intent of consumers exposed to the campaign reaches 64% (versus 44% of those unexposed); spontaneous brand awareness reaches 48% (versus 30%); 44% ready to recommend it to friends (versus 30%).-Events drew over 5,500 attendees.

-Media coverage outpaced closest competitor more than 5-fold (January 2011- January 2012). No competitor had such powerful newsbreaks.-VoltExercise earned 475 unique media hits (April 2011- January 2012); 75% directly mention VoltExercise/Voltaren. ZERO advertorials, which is nearly impossible for a brand initiative.

-Share of brand’s coverage in the news media increased from 17% to 62%; in lifestyle from 17% to 29%.

-Media outreach 95,800,108 impressions.

-The team was approached by 10 local NGOs asking to organize similar events in their cities. Thus, VoltExercise is growing into a nationwide movement for physical exercises.

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