The Breathless Choir

The Issue:

Lung diseases account for 7 percent of deaths worldwide. The global cost of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) alone will rise from $2.1 trillion in 2010 to $4.8 trillion by 2030, when it will become the third-leading cause of death worldwide, behind heart disease and strokes. Philips believes there is always a way to make life better, and it was this kind of thinking that led Philips to develop the SimplyGo Mini, a portable oxygen concentrator (POC), which empowers patients who struggle with respiratory conditions to continue living full, active lives.

The campaign:

Philips brought together a group of 18 people in New York for whom breathing is a constant challenge and turned them into the Breathless Choir.  They documented their journey through a series of films, as they conquered their fears and defied everyone’s expectations by undertaking the impossible: learning to sing. Celebrity choirmaster, Gareth Malone, led the group, each of whom is living with a chronic respiratory condition, and many have COPD.   Gareth is renowned for turning unlikely people into singers, and following five days of intensive training with him the Breathless Choir was formed.

The choir’s transformation culminated in a private performance at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York where the choir sang the classic song ‘Every Breath You Take’ in front of their emotional family and friends. Each member of the choir was provided with the Philips Respironics SimplyGo Mini.  The story of the Breathless Choir was launched on World COPD Day (November 18, 2015) when media and the public were invited to support the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) to improve awareness and care of COPD around the world.

The result:

The Breathless Choir illustrated that none of the participants can be defined by their illnesses because what shines through is their determination to share their story of strength and hope in song.

  • Total reach of the Breathless Choir across multiple social and media channels was 36,384,000
  • By mid-January 2016, 14,871,100 video views had been achieved
  • Over 100 English language pieces of media coverage were secured with more coverage secured across the globe.
  • The Choir certainly helped to change perceptions of the brand, the following are quotations from the many trade publications to cover the story:

Marketing Week Philips unveils tearjerker ad as it aims to ‘fundamentally’ change its brand perception

FastCompany …it’s a heart warming soft sell on the brand’s work on products like it’s portable oxygen concentrator SimplyGoMIni, that helps cut down the limitations facing people with respiratory conditions….

  • Finally, the Choir had a real impact on business
    • 14% revenue increase in Q4 2015 over Q3 2015  leading to a record high revenue in the portable O2 category
    • Reached at least 50% of our U.S. customer base with the Breathless Choir campaign, driving brand preference for Philips (portable) O2 solutions
    • Increased Philips #1 leadership position in customer satisfaction by an amazing 15% points, as measured by Net Promoter Score vs. Q2 2015