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  • 11.18.15

Philips’ “Breathless Choir” Helps People With Lung Problems Sing Again

The brand uses a charming human tale to tell its innovation story.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that makes it incredibly difficult for people to breathe. Today is World COPD Day, and to mark the occasion Philips has unveiled a new piece of content that uses a very human story to talk about innovation.

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The “Breathless Choir” is a collection of eighteen strangers who are all living with chronic respiratory conditions like COPD, cystic fibrosis and asthma, brought together for a week in New York by the brand and agency Ogilvy & Mather London to work with celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone, to learn how to sing again.

What does this have to do with Philips? Well, it’s a heartwarming soft sell on the brand’s work on products like its portable oxygen concentrator (POC), SimplyGo Mini, that helps cut down the limitations facing people with respiratory conditions.

Here we see the frustration and loss that many of these people feel at the loss of their ability to sing, and then the gradual joy that comes when they’re given the opportunity to get it back. The main short film is accompanied by four additional videos that spotlight a different aspect of the story.

Ogilvy & Mather London chief creative officer Gerry Human says the idea for The Breathless Choir came about because Philips wants people to know that they are now very much in the business of health tech. “The campaign shows that Philips have changed their business, but not their principles,” says Human. “They have always believed in finding smart ways to improve people’s lives. So this story is deeply rooted in the company’s 124-year-old DNA. People singing together always evokes an emotional reaction, but when it’s a group of people who actually struggle to breathe, let alone sing, that’s hard to ignore.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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