Cannes Lions

Run. Recover. Repeat

PHD, Toronto / GLAXO SMITH-KLINE / 2017

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Our research showed that there are 2 million regular runners in Canada who are not only heavy consumers of pain relief but – despite it being a relatively low interest category – they are a community who regularly discuss and share pain relief solutions with fellow runners and sports enthusiasts. We know that runners don’t think about pain relief brands until AFTER the pain has struck. They are also a group that is generally ignored by the big players in the market.

Furthermore, running is a highly ritualized activity. Runners are very specific about every aspect of their sport, from their gear to their routes. And an essential part of their gear is their smartphone, as maps and music form the backbone of their run.


Spotify (Canada’s leading digital music platform) streams 7 million running-based music playlists to Canadians every week.

In full partnership, we created a contextually relevant branded integration that sought to speak directly to runners, supporting them in their passion while also providing relevant real-world value.

In a mobile-first program with Spotify, we capitalized on the roles that both music and variation in routes play in the running ritual by developing unique, premium in-app branded tool. Intrinsically integrated into the Spotify platform, this tool enabled Voltaren to be a brand that didn’t just have the ability to soothe their aches and pains but also one that could enrich runners’ daily runs.

Our digital campaign identified runners via their online behavior, and capitalized on mobile moments related to their running experience.

Advanced behavioural targeting was used to serve Spotify ads to runners, which drove them to our bespoke “Run. Recover. Repeat” branded experience.

With minimal input required from the user, this first-of-its-kind in-app tool provided runners with customized local running routes (based on location, desired intensity and requested duration), and an accompanying playlist, based on their favourite song.

Upon completion of the route, runners were congratulated, and delivered a message demonstrating how Voltaren could help aid their recovery.


Marrying the brand objective with a key consumer passion point led to an incredibly unique, integrated program in the pain relief category. Understanding our target’s running rituals allowed us to connect with them on an emotional level, and successfully established Voltaren in the hearts and minds (and bodies) of our Runners target.

Supported by TV and SEM activity, our Digital program helped increased consumer consideration of Voltaren by +6%, and drive a 9% increase in sales!

This was driven by the campaign delivering 8 million impressions (index 128), a Click-Through-Rate 18x higher than projected and over 56,000 in-depth brand sessions . . . providing Canada’s runners with an impactful, lasting brand experience.

Our contextual relevance also delivered engagement metrics that outperformed Spotify’s branded experience benchmarks +50% for audio and +20% on mobile.

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