GSK builds awareness for a startling pneumonia fact

Tank helps the pharma company bring a simple message to regions most impacted by a leading cause of childhood mortality.


While not as well known as days that build awareness for things like AIDs or mental health, Tank is trying to get more people to recognize the importance of World Pneumonia Day on behalf of longtime client GSK.

A new campaign from the Montreal-based agency is geared toward regions in Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific where pneumonia remains the number one killer of children under five years of age, highlight the jarring fact that every 47 seconds, a child there dies from the disease.

That translates into the deaths of hundreds of thousands of kids annually. The fact is simply and straightforwardly conveyed using basic animation.

“When an idea has the potential to save a life in 47 seconds, it serves as a reminder that creativity can be a powerful tool,” says Marty Martinez, chief creative officer at Tank Worldwide.

GSK manufactures Synflorix, a vaccine for active immunization of infants and children from 6 weeks up to 5 years of age. It’s a paediatric pneumococcal vaccine to protect against life-threatening diseases like bacteraemic pneumonia, but also meningitis and middle ear infections. 

The campaign launched for World Pneumonia Day on Nov. 12, GSK’s first activation around the calendar date, and is supported by Gavi, an international organisation created two decades ago to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s most underdeveloped countries. It is hoping to move the needle on World Pneumonia Day, with continued and sustained relevance year-round.

The campaign will live primarily on social channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) using stories, infographics, and banners, and will lead to a 47-second informational video helping to educate parents on the disease and how to prevent it. Influencers in particularly afflicted countries like Nigeria and Kenya will post their own 47-second videos, using the hashtag #47sAgainstPneumonia, to encourage parents to learn more about this preventable disease.

According to Martinez, it was a simple calculus of earned versus paid, and there’s more efficiency gained from information being publicly shared.


Martinez adds that GSK has been pushing “significant investment” to supporting its vaccine business. “There’s a big push to be the leader in vaccines and they’re very committed to it.”

GSK has also recently found success with Shingrix, an anti-shingles vaccines that just got approval south of the border for use among adults aged 18 years and older at increased risk of shingles due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression.

For Tank, Martinez says the campaign exemplifies  “borderless” approach to handling accounts to generate richer cultural and behavioural insights, which means collaborations including New York, London, Toronto and Montreal-based teams, and satellite offices elsewhere. It can incorporate little stories to adapt to different jurisdictions.