Brand: Claritin
Owner: Bayer
Campaign: Be An Outsider
Agencies/Partners: Marina Maher Communications
Duration: April 2017-ongoing

Spring is the high time of year for allergy medicine initiatives.

This year, Bayer’s allergy medicine Claritin launched Be an Outsider, a campaign encouraging people to spend more time outside.

The idea behind the activation came from a question batted around by Claritin’s marketing team: how much time are people actually spending indoors? The team commissioned a study from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health to find out.

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“We were pretty shocked to learn 95% of time was spent indoors,” said Mike DeBiasi, VP of marketing for U.S. allergy at Bayer Consumer Health. “That was a strong signal there was an ‘indoor epidemic’ in the U.S. We started talking about Claritin’s equity as an outdoor brand and people spending 95% of their time indoors and felt we should be part of the solution.”

That study became the basis of the campaign. Be an Outsider’s mission is to get people to spend 1%, or just 20 minutes, more of their day outdoors because so much time sitting indoors affects their health.

Claritin is encouraging people to share photos of themselves outside on social media with the hashtags #BeAnOutsider and #Claritin. For every photo posted online with the two hashtags, Bayer will donate $5 to its partner, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, up to $50,000.

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Claritin kicked off Be an Outsider with celebrity spokesperson Josh Duhamel and kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs outside in a New York City park. Otherwise, the campaign is digital in its entirety. The website suggests outdoor activities such as treasure hunts and outdoor meetings to make it easier to spend that extra 20 minutes outside.

To drive home the fact that people are spending too much time inside, Claritin also created a video showing that nature words such as “dandelion” and “pasture” are disappearing from children’s dictionaries in favor of tech words including blog and chat room.

“One of the leading junior dictionaries had started taking out nature words,” DeBiasi said. “We did a video where we asked kids to find these words in the dictionary – and, of course, they can’t. It’s an interesting social experiment that highlighted this ‘indoor epidemic.'”

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The partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs began last year when Claritin refurbished playgrounds in Atlanta and New York. This year, Bayer made a three-year, $500,000 commitment to the after-school program organization, beginning with this campaign.

The brand is planning education programs about the health benefits of being outdoors over and more outdoor space renovations at Boys & Girls Clubs around the country, DeBiasi said.

“It’s about brand building, but it’s also about doing great things in the world,” he added. “Claritin as a brand and Bayer as company have the scale and resources to make a positive change. There aren’t many brands with that power.”

This story first appeared in PRWeek.