GSK’s “Breath of Life”: A Beautiful Symphony of Technology, Culture and Science

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) - one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has earned an excellent reputation for their campaign called “Breath of Life” in China. Cooperating with McCann Health Shanghai, GSK took advantage of Wechat - the biggest China’s app, to launch a life-saving piece of tech for diagnosing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) among adults in China.

The challenges

It is reported that there are around 100 million people diagnosed with COPD in China annually. COPD is a serious health concern but often ignored by people since they consider the disease as shortness of breath. Therefore, the real number of people having COPD may be much greater than 100 million.

Strategy & Execution

Being aware of the potential risks, GSK created the “Breath of Life” - a self-diagnostic tool using the microphone on smartphones to record the sound of breath. Once the data of the sound wave is collected, “Breath of Life” will analyse the data and present it in the form of an artistic tree. This is inspired by the traditional Chinese blow painting. If the painting of the tree is from 70% and above complete, people are more likely to be free from COPD. Otherwise, health alerts and recommendations of health checks will show up.

The campaign is considered a beautiful symphony of technology, culture and science. “Breath of Life” is the first self-testing tool on WeChat that hit 10,000 click-throughs after two weeks of launching. Via this campaign, GSK has successfully raised people's awareness about the serious COPD and achieved widespread advocacy.

The results

GSK’s “Breath of Life” was honoured to be listed in the 2019 Cannes Health & Wellness Lions winners with the Grand Pix and Gold Lion awards.






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