Award Category
Best Demonstration of Short-Term Results



Don’t Ignore a Cough


With a miniscule budget compared to the other 12 brands in the category, Prospan set itself an epic challenge to grab the attention of mums of young kids. The objectives were to maintain YOY sales, i.e. 0% growth, particularly in the peak cold season from May to July; and reach one million mothers with children under 12. An insight identified that mums actually ignore children’s coughs and they go untreated. Research revealed this happened because mothers generally felt that coughs just “sort themselves out”, but that the waiting period was riddled with doubt. This signalled a window of opportunity, with a clear strategic message: “Don’t ignore a cough”.


Affinity started with science and worked to get a better understanding of the perfect conditions for a cough. Rhinovirus (the common cold) is a key trigger in developing a cough and thrives in the cold which also dampens immune systems. Various data (including temperature, pollution and Medicare) from across Australia was overlaid and the agency used a multi-variant model to test thousands of inputs to build a Cough Prediction Algorithm. A cold snap is all it takes to get a cough, but here’s the ‘cool’ part – the difference in temperature needed to start a cough is unique to each suburb. As the temperature dropped just enough to get kids coughing and mums worrying in a given suburb, Prospan’s ad was there with a reassuring message to not ignore it and she could do something about it. A simple, funny, exaggerated scenario was targeted at mums to offset the seriousness of the call to action.


Despite the 2016 winter being the fourth hottest on record, the warmest autumn ever, average temperatures not reaching the ‘peak illness zone’, and the cough medicine market in decline by 8.5%, all objectives were smashed. A 27% increase in sales during the cold and flu season meant an 18.5% growth in market share. Increased engagement was shown by a CTR of 54%. Reach increased by 14% to 1.14 million with the average frequency up 42.6%-63.8%.

Judges Comments

This is an example of going beyond media research and planning. And using science and data to your advantage. Very cleverly thought out and executed to create an interesting campaign.