Cannes Lions

The Cold Car Test Drive







80% of people wouldn’t go to a job interview with a cold. 75% would cancel a date or a night out. 60% would avoid certain tasks at work. Yet 90% would still do the school run in the car. What people don’t realize is that their reaction time is lowered by 10% when driving with a cold, the same as driving under the influence of alcohol. This campaign educated people about the dangers of driving with a cold in the country with deadliest roads in Europe—Czech Republic.


In the Czech republic, thousands have died over the past 4 years from road accidents. While the country instituted a zero-tolerance policy on drunk driving, people continued to drive under the influence of something just as dangerous—a cold. Otrivin partnered with scientists and engineers to create a real-life driving experience to educate consumers. We simulated the effects of a cold on the human body onto the body of a car, including head pressure, delayed reaction times, and the blinding effects of a sneeze. We then invited average drivers to get behind the wheel to ‘test drive’ a cold and its effects. They quickly realized the dangers of driving under the influence of a cold. To drive awareness, we leveraged a video of this ‘cold test drive’ via online video and social posts. We also promoted the campaign via broadcast, OOH, display banners and strategic partnerships.


The Czech Republic has some of the deadliest roads in Europe, with 571 people dying on Czech roads in 2018. To reduce road deaths, the country introduced a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving. Driving drunk can you get you 3 years in prison. Given the hyper-awareness of driving under the influence in Czech Republic, they were very receptive to learn that driving with a cold can be comparable to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Our strategy was to bring to life the dangers of driving with a cold and drive awareness through integrated messaging.


We modified a car to mimic the effects of having a cold by creating a deep bass sound to simulate head pressure; modifying the power steering and brakes to simulate delayed reaction times; and creating a quick-fogging windshield to simulate the blinding effects of a sneeze. We then challenged drivers to get behind the wheel and recorded their reactions as they quickly saw the dangers of driving under the influence of a cold.

In a market that is very aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, we leveraged this video in the Czech Republic so that consumers could see the comparable danger of driving with a cold. We targeted Czech drivers through a billboard on the main highway, TV messaging, digital banners and social posts. We also leveraged key partnerships with influencers online and a TV interview in collaboration with the BESIP (Czech traffic safety organization).


In the Czech Republic, Otrivin saw 10,646,444 total impressions across all assets. Given the country has a total population of 10,625,250, this total surpassed our goals in terms of reach, while we delivered average results for Facebook and YouTube against the benchmarks for the region.

In terms of sales, Otrivin had been growing below the category for the entirety of 2018 and even saw a decline in December 2018. With the launch of the campaign, Otrivin saw high growth in January 2019 (13.4% YoY) with significant growth above the category in February 2019 (12.8% growth for Otrivin vs 7.1% category growth, YoY).

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