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From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

The First Arthritis-Friendly Website

Gold Honor in Health & Medical


Living with arthritis can be a pain—literally. So if you’re one of the 50 million adults in the U.S. managing this condition, you’ve likely spent a lot of time searching for any and every kind of arthritis treatment out there.

Enter Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel—the first and only full-prescription strength, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory gel for powerful arthritis pain relief. Although it’s the #1 global topical pain reliever, Voltaren was only available in the US as a prescription and became available OTC on shelves in May 2020. The OTC approval of Voltaren provides greater access to a well-tolerated treatment and an alternative way for people to treat their arthritis pain.

The challenge? Voltaren had limited awareness in the U.S. and was entering into a highly competitive category with established brands such as Tylenol, Aleve, Icy Hot, and BioFreeze. To reach its goal of high household penetration, the brand needed a holistic and differentiated digital strategy that uniquely understood arthritis consumers and their needs.

To meet this challenge, we built Voltaren’s first U.S. website: The website aims to be a total support system for arthritis patients, providing both emotional and functional support. This holistic approach was brought to life through:

  1. Consumer-centric innovation and content, measured via prototype testing and first-party data collection.
  2. Product education and clear paths to purchase, measured through pre-order and sales.

Strategy and Execution

We set out to build a world-class website laddering up to our holistic, consumer-first strategy.

Consumer-centric innovation and content

Keeping our consumer at the core, we accounted for the possibility that our users might have arthritis in their hands that would make it difficult to navigate a website. As such, we implemented accessibility features such as voice search, a voice-enabled chatbot, large tap targets, scalable font sizes, and the ability to view hands-free content via videos and head-gesture-scroll education.

We also developed search-optimized educational content, supporting overall health for arthritis patients, that goes beyond just product information. This content ladders up to consumer research, and enables users to manage their arthritis during key life moments such as during work, social moments, and time with family.

Through multiple touchpoints on our site, we securely captured first-party data from users that will ultimately help us understand and message to consumers in a more personalized way. This will enable us to drive a thoughtful eCRM program that offers ongoing support and maintains consideration for Voltaren between purchase cycles. Moreover, our first party data efforts provide the ability to funnel data to Amazon for look-alike retargeting efforts.

Product education and clear paths to purchase

To complement the features above, the site offers comprehensive product education including clear product benefits, testimonials/reviews to prove efficacy, and proper usage to ensure an optimal product experience.

If a user is ready to try or buy, samples and coupons are available, as well as universal checkout capabilities via Shoppable (our third-party partner), enabling a direct-to-consumer experience.

Before launching all features, we partnered with The Arthritis Foundation and real arthritis patients to do prototype testing—a true test to see if what we designed actually met arthritis sufferers’ needs. As a result of testing, key elements of the website were altered.

We also developed two phases of the website, one for pre-launch and one for full-launch. Given that this was a new brand launch, it was critical to create awareness and generate anticipation around product availability before Voltaren was available on shelves. Pre-launch also enabled us to promote our pre-order incentive: 100% of profits (up to $100,000) were donated to the Arthritis Foundation. Our full-launch site evolved the pre-launch approach, layering in more helpful content, full branding, couponing, sampling, reviews, purchase capabilities, and a voice-enabled chatbot.

By keeping our consumer at our core throughout the strategy and execution, we were able to motivate users to investigate, consider, and try Voltaren. And if they’re actually ready to buy, we established clear paths to purchase for both pre-order and “buy now.”


Consumer-centric innovation and content

In prototype testing with arthritis patients, 99% of users found the website easy to use and feedback was overwhelmingly positive—especially for our accessibility modifications. In practice, our arthritis-friendly features proved beneficial too. During the first month of Full-Launch, over one-third of on-site search queries were via voice input vs. typing.

Users also leverage our site to learn more about the product and their condition. During the first month of our fully launched site, we had over 35,000 users opt-in to our eCRM program and we’ve consistently had a sign-up rate at 4x our target ever since.

Product education and clear paths to purchase

It’s clear users are motivated to ultimately purchase Voltaren to help manage their arthritis pain. Pre-order week 1 was noted by Shoppable as the highest one-week total sales of any brand they have integrated with. Pre-order drove strong conversion into the brand, with Voltaren achieving #1 in the External Analgesics Category within 3 weeks of launch, and #4 in the Total Pain Category within 4 weeks. Voltaren is also currently the #1 doctor recommended topical pain relief brand. launched as 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. Defying category norms, the site offered the market a whole new way to approach arthritis pain relief—just like the product itself. The Arthritis Foundation even recognized as the first arthritis-friendly website and provided accreditation on the site.


Video for The First Arthritis-Friendly Website

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Weber Shandwick, GlaxoSmithKline


Entry Credits