About this entry
A broken conversation
“It’s like you’re operating as a grayscale version of yourself.”
“You can drink all the coffee in the world and it doesn’t make a difference.”
“It’s like you’re weighed down with chains.”
These are real words from people with MS. To them, the fatigue that accompanies their condition is life-altering. In fact, 81% of recently diagnosed people with MS ranked fatigue as their top concern. Yet, the neurologists who treat them rank fatigue near the bottom of their list of priorities, choosing to focus on treating the symptoms they can observe on an MRI. Even when fatigue is discussed in the exam room, it’s rationalized away as exhaustion from work, or parenting, or simply aging.
Revealing a long-overlooked insight
Clearly, patients’ lives are significantly impacted by fatigue. Yet that struggle isn’t having the impact it should with their doctors.
No one is at fault here. It’s simply a broken conversation. Patients want help managing their MS fatigue and doctors, once they understand its true impact, want to provide a solution. We worked with our clients, Janssen Neuroscience, to mend this division.
Why does this entry deserve to win?
It brings an abstract concept to life
To help ensure patients and doctors were not only hearing but understanding each other, we needed to accomplish 2 things: legitimize MS fatigue so that patients would discuss it and their neurologists would understand its impact and create a campaign that was compelling enough to ensure that both parties would see it in a crowded and complicated market.
Our first step in achieving this was to talk to patients—lots of them. We heard their unfiltered stories—the descriptions that, until we asked, were left unsaid. We built a library of these previously hidden symptoms along with the profound impact on their lives.
Next, we partnered with Nigel Buchanan, an acclaimed illustrator who could take their words and bring them to life in a way that had never been done. Their silent struggle with fatigue, which until now had been abstract, would finally become real for anyone to see and understand. Additionally, this COVID-friendly approach allowed us to continue moving forward uninterrupted with this important initiative.
It brings credibility to MS fatigue
Finally, we ensured all of this was built on a foundation of science. Teased out of medical literature and pressure tested by some of the best minds in MS, a clinical story took shape that established MS fatigue as an inextricable part of the disease and an important consideration in treatment success.
It used an integrated campaign to pull together multiple stakeholders
The campaign came together as More to MS, which was launched at the MS Virtual 2020 Congress. From there, a communication platform was executed to ensure both healthcare professionals and patients experienced the surround sound of peer-to-peer, personal, and non-personal communications and social media.
For people living with MS, their unaddressed concern was finally legitimized—they weren’t simply busy, tired, or weak. Furthermore, they now had a powerful new language for talking to their neurologists. And for doctors, they not only heard but saw patients’ day-to-day battles with MS fatigue. Driven by a newly uncovered insight, we brought people with MS and those who treat them together. And while there is still work to be done, both sides are now close enough to finally hear what the other is saying.
Though launched early in the pandemic, the results for More to MS have been astonishing, and this is just the beginning. We’re in the process of bringing more patient stories to life as we expand the campaign to prepare for the global launch of what we believe to be a game-changing treatment for MS.
Thanks to More to MS, the previously hidden symptom of MS fatigue has been revealed, bridging a gap between patient and doctor that until recently, no one knew existed.