With a mystery buried in plain sight, GSK and Weber Shandwick CHINA helped Athlete’s Foot sufferers break through social stigma to find A CURE for their condition.
Due to social stigma and shame, Athlete’s Foot is rarely discussed publicly in China. Those afflicted go to great lengths to hide their condition from others or avoid discussing it altogether. So, how could GSK introduce people to Lamisil, its world-leading cure?
Rather than discussing the infection openly, GSK and Weber Shandwick opted to simply help people discover the cure for themselves – creating a scenario wherein those afflicted could stumble upon the cure almost by accident.
Solving the Mystery
GSK and Weber Shandwick constructed a mock crime scene in a popular shopping mall in Shanghai. Passers-by and members of media were invited to investigate clues in the area to crack a secret message, hidden in a crossword puzzle. Each clue was designed to reveal the answers in a way only someone with Athlete's Foot or those close to them would understand. As consumers filled out the crossword puzzle, the secret message was revealed (translated from Chinese): “Lamisil Treats Athlete’s Foot”. The message was simple, direct, and – as a conclusion to the mystery – a gratifying discovery for consumers.
No more shame
The “Secret Detective” event attracted hundreds of participants. The video of the creative activity was viewed over 20 million times on Chinese social networks. In total, the campaign generated 100 million social media impressions, helping lift the topic of Athlete’s Foot above the murk of stigma and shame. The social shift brought on by the campaign helped drive Lamisil’s commercial success, helping establish GSK’s market leadership in the sector.