Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep/wake disorder, affecting approximately 25 million Americans. Poor quality or insufficient sleep can affect many aspects of the daily lives of people with trouble sleeping (PWTS) including the ability to concentrate, mood and energy levels. In the long-term, insomnia is associated with numerous serious health conditions, such as psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, substance abuse and dementia, and has a profound impact on all aspects of an individual’s life – from personal, professional to social.
Idorsia Pharmaceuticals US had an investigational treatment that had the potential to address the unmet needs of many people struggling with the sleep disorder, but realized the medicine’s full potential would require breaking through a huge volume of noise about sleep, pseudoscience, misinformation and stigma surrounding insomnia and its treatment.
For this launch, we decided not only to provide the necessary education missing from the conversation, but do it in a compelling, meaningful and entertaining way. So, we developed an unbranded awareness campaign with two pieces of signature, stand out content:
A feature-length documentary called The Quest for Sleep (TQFS) that provides real stories as well as addressing the science behind sleep and insomnia,
One of the largest US surveys of Healthcare Providers and PWTS, the Wake Up America survey was endorsed by a panel of sleep experts to unveil the enormous toll insomnia has and the gaps currently facing patients.
People often turn to the internet first for information on insomnia and quality sleep. When we started our research in 2020, ‘insomnia’ was the top monthly searched term relating to sleep, with over 157,000 average monthly impressions, followed closely by searches for sleeping pills or sleep aid medication.
Qualitative and quantitative market research also revealed many people who live with this debilitating condition feel isolated on their journey.
And while they can turn to online communities, PWTS are often uncomfortable talking about their struggles, with misconceptions and stigma pervading the conversation, fueling a lack of understanding of sleep science and the human toll of insomnia.
So, we worked with Harris Poll and The Alliance for Sleep–a multidisciplinary committee supported by Idorsia–to conduct the Wake Up America survey. This was one of the largest US surveys of HCPs and PWTS, which revealed the huge impact of insomnia, and the lack of dialogue.
We also filmed the documentary, The Quest for Sleep, which follows the lives of real people who struggle with insomnia on their journey to find hope through scientific insights that illuminate the relationship between sleep, insomnia and the brain and body. The character of “Sleep” narrated by award-winning actor, Octavia Spencer (who struggles with sleep herself) acts as an empathetic and discerning foil to the cast.
Viewers experience the stories of people who reveal the many facets of the sleep disorder across diverse backgrounds. Experts explain sleep science and provide insights into what happens inside a body and brain lacking sleep while “Sleep” leads the audience through powerful animations that take viewers inside the brains of the characters.
Knowing that our target audience both connects with others and consumes media online, in March 2022, we premiered the film on a cross-platform simulcast live stream (Facebook Live, YouTube), followed by a cast panel discussion. Placing the documentary online broadened audience accessibility and allowed them to engage with the film while connecting with others. The film was so well received we conducted an encore presentation the following week.
The premiere was followed by in-theater premieres in NYC and LA that included live panel discussions, and the film is currently housed on YouTube and at thequestforsleep.com.
We promoted The Quest for Sleep via:
Influencers: Spread the word on Instagram and Facebook, driving their audiences to Facebook Live. These influencers also struggle with sleep and shared their experiences with their followers.
Media relations: Targeted consumer, health, sports and film outlets. Coverage featured Octavia Spencer and talent who shared personal sleep struggles while promoting the film’s importance and where to watch.
TQFS social channels provided rich, educational content via compelling assets including infographics, teaser clips, animations and cast member stories.
Our talent posted content to their followers, tying in their personal connection to insomnia.
Online and print ads were placed in influential outlets – NPR and The New York Times – to drive our target audience to Facebook Live.
Our paid social strategy included targeted ads on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
The Quest for Sleep resonated with our audience:
Website Visits: Doubled goal of unique visitors.
Newsletter: secured 7,000 opt-ins vs. our goal of 1,500.
YouTube: 2 million + views in total, 200x our initial goal.
Earned Media: Media coverage of the film reached an audience of 30.5 million + people, and featured on Access Hollywood, iHeartRadio, The Talk and Sports Illustrated: The Crossover NBA Show.
TQFS social media handles earned 60 million impressions.
Social media drew 972,000+ views of the documentary through YouTube Discovery Ads, surpassing our goal by 60 times.
Twitter also led to 260,000 clicks, more than doubling our original goal.
Influencers drove 14 million impressions (goal: 10 million) and achieved 56,000 link clicks to the film’s URL.
Posts on celebrity social channels spurred 75,000 engagements.
During our Live premiere, we received over 38,000 comments, offering a platform for PWTS to be heard, share their stories, and connect with others struggling with insomnia. 20,000+ PWTS commented throughout the film about its value in reducing feelings of isolation.
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