App blows Pharma jury away

Jury President Robin Shapiro

Jury President Robin Shapiro

A groundbreaking mobile app from China that fuses creativity and cutting-edge tech is the winner of the 2019 Pharma Grand Prix.

Entered by McCann Health Shanghai on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline, the Breath Of Life app is a way for people who are short of breath to find out if they may be suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by blowing into the microphone of their mobile.

An algorithm converts the sound of the user’s breath into a lung volume measurement. This is then displayed using nature motifs from traditional Chinese art. Users who fall below a certain level are advised to seek medical attention. Jury president Robin Shapiro said “We were completely blown away by it. The app wasn’t just tech for the sake of it. It used mobile in an unexpected and relevant way.”

In terms of category trends, Shapiro said there was a lot of “creativity with a conscience”. She also cited “a trend towards inclusion, some clean, simple yet beautiful craft and more non-traditional work. There were plenty of examples of brand experiences and events.”

It has been a few years since the Pharma jury has awarded a Grand Prix. This year, the notoriously tough category only gave out two Gold Lions — one of which went to the Breath Of Life app. Shapiro, also global president of TBWA\WorldHealth, said: “We had a good debate about retaining the purity of the category to keep the standards up.”

Harriet Palmer