Great Experiential Marketing: The Ricola cough concert


Cough medicine brand Ricola transformed a common annoyance into a piece of music in this great experiential marketing stunt carried out in a concert hall.


As a result, coughing, a big culprit for disrupting many a musical experience, actually ended up becoming the main musical arrangement on the night.

To start with, a pianist appeared onstage to a welcoming applause. However, after playing the first few bars, several audience members started to cough and she stopped as if waiting for them to finish. For those not in the know, an awkward few minutes ensued consisting of certain audience members (actors) incessantly coughing in tune with each other.

However once the wheezy harmonising had ceased, a Ricola banner with the caption “For cough-free musical enjoyment” was revealed, leading to an audible collective sigh of relief and a huge applause. Take a look at the video:

Nicola pulled off this campaign brilliantly, and the idea of incorporating pesky noise-makers into the mix was genius. The brand created a campaign that many people can identify with – most spectators get irritated by continual coughing, but Ricola saw it as an “opportunity for a world premiere” and an opportunity to promote its product using experiential marketing.

 This experiential campaign makes nice use of a flashmob to give consumers a surprising and amusing experience – it seems Ricola has joined experiential expert Coca-Cola in using flashmobs and effectively telling its customers to shhhh! – take a look at our Marketing Society post about Coca-Cola’s cheeky experiential campaigns.

Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.