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Behind the Lens: Living with a Rare Blood Cancer

Entered in Integrated Campaign


Every year, millions of patients, families and caregivers are impacted by cancer in the U.S. Some cancers are more well-known than others, but for those impacted by rare blood cancers, including myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), it counts to have somewhere to turn for reliable information and support.

As a part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness for MPNs, Incyte developed an unbranded series of four short documentary films and one longform film featuring real MPN patients. Directed by Cynthia Wade, an Academy Award® winning filmmaker in the documentary short subject category, these films serve as a point of reference for MPN patients who feel unheard or alone. Through the powerful and personal stories of patients living with an MPN, the broader MPN patient community is able to feel connected to others who they can truly relate to. Additionally, these videos drive awareness and encourage patients to play a more active role in their treatment decisions by inspiring those impacted – patients and caregivers alike – to be their own health advocates.

The core target audience for the film is the MPN community of patients, families, friends, caregivers, advocates and health professionals, but we also aimed to raise awareness for MPNs by targeting a general consumer audience as well through broader media efforts, including:

1 media day in New York City

2 Satellite media tours

Local screening events for each documentary – accompanied by local media outreach

Social media shared on the VoicesofMPN Twitter and Facebook pages

Two multimedia news releases

1 MAT release

Strategy and Execution

Our goal with this campaign was to create multiple touch points throughout the year by releasing each short film separately, and timed when possible to key MPN community milestones.

We initiated this project with weeks of in-depth screening conversations with a variety of different patients living with these rare blood cancers to find our storytellers. We wanted each film to deliver personal stories that were filled with emotion and coupled with powerful imagery to tell a raw and honest account of what it is like to live with an MPN. Because living with an MPN can infiltrate every aspect of daily life, each film in the series of four films is rooted in one of the four elements: water, fire, air and earth. These elements and the imagery and colors they represent provide a common thread tying the films together and allow viewers moments to process the emotionally moving interviews and scenes, while helping craft a lyrical, impactful series about living with an often unknown or misunderstood disease.

We created the docuseries to serve as a rallying cry for MPN patients, drive awareness for this group of blood cancers and engage the MPN patient community to play a more active role in their treatment decisions. Although the docuseries was our core creative asset and campaign driver – we utilized many additional creative assets to drive additional success and impact. All campaign efforts aim to engage and inspire patients while driving our primary call-to-action to visit Incyte's unbranded disease awareness website Assets included:

The first film, "Beyond Blue," was launched in advance of Rare Disease Day (February 28) and was supported with a national media day and Satellite media tour in NYC – as well as a social media campaign, a multimedia news release and a MAT release.

"Gravity," was launched in May and supported with a screening event and earned media outreach efforts.

"The Unknown," was launched in advance of Blood Cancer Awareness Month (September), and was supported with a Satellite media tour in New York to highlight the campaign and drive traffic to the film and unbranded MPN disease awareness website.

"Invisible," was launched during Blood Cancer Awareness month and was supported with a local screening event, along with a social media campaign and media outreach.

Released the final film in the series, "Something So Rare," which is a compilation of the first four films – on National MPN Awareness Day (September 13th).

As a true extension of the program, the storytellers participated in a storytelling event hosted by Story Collider during Blood Cancer Awareness Month, where they delivered their stories to a live audience and shed a light on a day dedicated to research and awareness for MPNs. We amplified the reach of this event with a multimedia news release and local media outreach.

Amplified reach of each video and the program with social media content via Voices of MPN (Twitter and Facebook) and online platforms – beginning ahead of Rare Disease Day and ending after Blood Cancer Awareness Month.


The integrated campaign surpassed all goals – with a combined reach of over 475M+ and drove a 1000% increase in traffic to following the first documentary. The media pushes around Rare Disease Day and Blood Cancer Awareness Month provided the campaign with even more relevance and recognition.

768K+ video views of the five films with 2.2M+ social impressions

140M+ reached through 45 media interviews

152M+ reached through "Beyond Blue" MAT release with over 995 placements

500K+ reached from "Gravity" media outreach

53K+ reached from media outreach around the storytelling event

100% of media interviews hit all key messages

100% of media coverage included a link or mention to

700% increase of traffic to VoicesofMPN on Rare Disease Day – with 89 percent of visitors new to the site – coinciding with the launch of the first film

60% higher traffic to VoicesofMPN during Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2018 vs 2017

Overall, the film received positive responses from the MPN community online, including the following comments:

"Wow, this amazing story brought tears to my eyes" – Bonnie B.

"Thank you for sharing your story and the struggles. It makes me feel like I'm not alone facing this. One breath at a time. Perfect advice." – Mary Jayne P.

"I saw your video today. It shook me to my core. We share very similar stories." – Tom F.


Video for Behind the Lens: Living with a Rare Blood Cancer

Entrant Company / Organization Name

W2O Group, Incyte Corporation