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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Forever Your Girl

Entered in Music & Dance


Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel is the world’s #1 topical pain reliever. However, it was only available in the U.S. as a prescription until May 2020, when it became available over the counter.

Our challenge: How do we launch a brand with limited awareness in a highly competitive category with well-established players like Tylenol and Aleve—during a global pandemic, no less? And how do we create the category of a differentiated OTC topical medication while also building an emotional connection?

Our solution: By partnering with beloved dancer, singer, and arthritis sufferer Paula Abdul—and emotionally resonating with the 50 million-plus arthritis suffers in the U.S. through Paula’s iconic music and dance moves.

Strategy and Execution

Living with arthritis can be a pain, in every sense of the word. Enter Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel—the first full prescription strength, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory gel for powerful arthritis pain relief. When you suffer from osteoarthritis, it hurts to move. But here’s the thing: movement actually helps relieve your joint pain (especially when paired with Voltaren).  

With people spending more time at home due to COVID-19, keeping spirits up and finding arthritis pain relief has never been more important. In a recent study of 1,000 U.S. adults aged 35+ suffering from joint pain, 82% of respondents said their physical activity has decreased as a result of more time at home, and 92% of respondents reported that their joint pain was the same or more severe during this time. 

Given the current state of the country, and with those study results in mind, Voltaren set out to help and inspire arthritis sufferers to rediscover the joy of movement—and who better to encourage movement and spread joy than dancer, singer, and arthritis sufferer Paula Abdul?

In a spot titled “Forever Paula,” Voltaren inserted present-day Paula into her classic “Forever Your Girl” ‘80s music video, where she literally dances with her younger self to prove that she can move as effortlessly and amazingly at 57 as she did at 27—with help from Voltaren’s powerful arthritis pain relief (and you can too!).

The team faced many challenges to pull this off. First: tracking down the original 16mm film (shot by the legendary David Fincher in 1989). Once it was found and acquired, the technical wizards behind the scenes worked tirelessly to ensure it would work seamlessly with the modern footage we were shooting. On the day of the shoot, Paula came prepared—performing every take with the talent, energy, and precision she’s known for.

To complement the :30 TVC and OLV, Voltaren also developed best-in-class social assets, which uniquely leveraged Paula’s music and dance moves to further reinforce Voltaren’s RTBs in a fun and engaging manner, all while adhering to social platform best practices. Additionally, the :30 spot was part of a YouTube Masthead takeover, reaching everyone who logged on to YouTube over a 24-hour time period. Beyond the 24-hour time period, the :30 spot and related article content were also hosted on, the first arthritis-friendly, mobile-first website experience—tested and validated by real arthritis patients, built with unique arthritis-friendly features, and offering holistic support.


Increased brand awareness, consideration and sales growth data all support that the Paula spot helped Voltaren, a new brand with very little awareness, breakthrough a crowded category filled with well-established players.

Voltaren is the only brand in the category with significant growth in aided and unaided awareness — reaching 72% brand awareness since launch while also increasing consideration and usage, making Voltaren the topical treatment brand with the strongest aware to consider ratio.

Paula creative drove 684% sales growth, vs the previous weeks when Paula creative was not in market.

During the week of the YouTube Masthead and Latin Grammys when Paula creative ran at scale,  there was a 10.3% lift in consumption. 

The YouTube Masthead, received massive reach of 615MM total impressions — leading to a +230% lift in visits to the brand owned website month over month. Additionally, the Masthead drove +29 search lift for Voltaren post video release.

To-date, media coverage of the Paula spot garnered 255,419,232 impressions — further aiding in awareness of Voltaren, a key objective for a new over-the-counter brand.


Video for Forever Your Girl

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Weber Shandwick, GlaxoSmithKline


Entry Credits