Product / ServiceVOLTAREN
CategoryB01. Consumer Products


Name Company Position
Lilian Lan Links-Health General Manager
Maggie Liu Links-Health Account Director
Maggiey Zhang Novartis Brand Manager
Forrest Fu Links-Health Event Manager

The Campaign

In 1994, Voltaren was launched in China and has now become a leading brand in the OTC market. The sales growth of Voltaren in recent years was not up to the company’s hopes, however, and a dramatic break-through was desired. Market investigations showed little public reaction recent advertising campaigns, and the company sought a new approach to their marketing. Ten years ago, Olympic gymnastics champion Li Xiaoshuang was invited to shoot an ad for Voltaren, which received very good market feedback. The customer’s brief was to recreate and renew this advertising theme and combine it with public health education activities, to illustrate the maker’s concern for the public and highlight the product’s advantages. Voltaren will kick off a new TVC campaign by using the celebrity as ad idea. Our idea was to reinforce the relation between the celebrity and Voltaren via PR.

The Brief

Attract more public attention to Voltaren. Strengthen its public image as a pain relief solution, and convince the public of its advantages over competing products. Target consumers: aged 30-50, lingering muscle & joint pain suffer, white collar, busy and active life style. Thousands of questionnaire samples on web usage and on-site investigations were involved, indicating to us that: 1. The Chinese public has many misunderstandings about pain control, and public health education and self-care education is urgently needed. 2. There remained a lot of space to develop public recognition for the Novartis Voltaren product’s brand image to be strengthened.


Warm-up stage advertising: - The article, “Voltaren values Li Xiaoshuang, Exploring Post-championship Value”, was widely published in major media, and popular local media from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou were also selected for promotions, giving us effective nation-wide coverage as well as local. - Related forums obtained 7,719 hits and 111 responses. - Internet videos and SNS were also part of the effort. Climax stage advertising - Voltaren Xiao Hongren’s microblog was activated and forwarded 25,035 times, taking the second position in microblog forwarding for the period. By the beginning of June, 70 items had been released in the TV, print, internet, news agency and mobile news media; about 100 articles were reproduced in mainstream media with a wide range of influence. The total words count was 195,272 Chinese characters with an equivalent advertising value of 2,015,805 RMB.


As Li Xiaoshuang has faded from public view, the first step was to restore and recreate his public image during the progress of the advertising campaign. Thus, in the warm-up stage, news, forums, online communities, video and other channels were used to promote the image of the former Olympics gymnastic champion. Then, in the climax stage, a Voltaren® People’s Pain Relief Declaration Internet Relay was successfully launched May 22 using Li Xiaoshuang as the spokesperson. In addition to Li, the event included health and industry association leaders. All led the whole audience in a public exercise campaign, exercising, dancing, and running a race. The event included a character playing Xiao Hongren, bringing the brand image to life. The campaign was carried out as originally planned; no changes were required.

The Situation

• Low compliance on VE usage. Except Voltaren 15sec TVC for quickly raise brand awareness, local team needs alternative media to conduct in-depth communication. • Consumers rely on doctor endorsement while doctors used to prescribe systemic analgesic. • Pharmacist likely to recommend high margin produces

The Strategy

Incorporating the product brand into public welfare campaigns, combining the brand with emotional factors and spokespersons’ influence, and to elevate pain control into an issue for those who have an active lifestyle – virtually the entire Chinese public. Also, with help from media influence, we try to cover all aspects of the product while at the same time highlighting the product’s advantages. We believed that Voltaren couldn't be more effective, but that the product’s branding lacked emphasis on its public utility. Thus, we developed the use of Li Xiaoshuang as the spokesperson to launch patient education activities, and advertise the product based two factors—product function and effective care. For the first time brand planning included the use of micro blog, SNS and other new media the use of which is now booming China. Voltaren advertising was to place new emphasis on these new media and social marketing techniques.