Merck Oncology is committed to fighting cancer on all fronts and providing patients and caregivers with support beyond medicine. In this spirit they addressed a need heard time and again across the cancer community: people facing cancer primarily seek to connect with others who have gone through a similar experience.
In collaboration with more than a dozen patient advocacy groups, Merck asked patients and caregivers: “What advice would you give yourself on the first day of your diagnosis?”
The result was “With Love, Me”— an integrated campaign featuring the heartfelt stories of people who have battled cancer either as fierce survivors or loving caregivers, sharing their hard-earned wisdom in the form of letters to their former selves. Journalist and cancer awareness and research advocate, Katie Couric, who lost her husband and sister to the disease, served as campaign “storyteller” to share the compelling narratives of those affected by cancer.
- Deepen Merck’s connection with patients, caregivers and advocates by illustrating the cancer experience beyond treatment, effectively demonstrating their commitment to patients at all stages of the cancer journey.
- Broaden the reach of “With Love, Me” to more patients/caregivers through collaboration with patient advocacy groups across a wider range of tumor types.
- Bring the stories of cancer survivors – and their loved ones – to life in a fresh and emotionally compelling way.
- We went directly to patients and caregivers and asked them, “What advice would you give yourself on the first day of your diagnosis?” The result was a series of heartfelt letters to their former selves. The letters are relatable not only to cancer patients but to anyone facing a serious challenge.
- Employ a PESO strategy across multiple platforms, including WithLoveMe.com to reach people where they are as they search for and receive healthcare information.
Our Creative Execution
- Katie Couric, senior Merck leaders and patient advocates conducted consumer and trade media interviews over two days in New York City and shared the patients’ stories on her social channels, reaching her large following and the cancer community.
- Patient and caregiver volunteers led discussions with their hometown media.
- Paid social and paid search were the two highest traffic drivers to the campaign website featuring the patients’ stories and other resources, which helped boost engagement with campaign content and created a digital footprint for the campaign.
- Campaign culminated in a feature “With Love, Me” event in September, where over 100 patients and advocates gathered to hear panel discussions moderated by Katie Couric and live letter readings. Jim Kelly participated in consumer and trade media interviews about his participation and cancer story.
- “With Love, Me” launched at the 2019 Oncology Nursing Society Congress, with attendees describing it as “beautiful,” “awesome” and “wonderful.”
The campaign exceeded all benchmarks with significant results as the video content spurred new highs in website traffic and video views. To date:
Video for “With Love, Me” presented by Your Cancer Game Plan
- 160.6K+ people visited the campaign website, with 10,000 visitors after the first week
- 2.7K+ individuals used the #WithLoveMe hashtag.
- The program was so well received by the advocacy community that three new advocacy groups joined in 2020, amounting to 18 total advocacy partners
- Patient/advocacy feedback demonstrated we inspired people when they needed it most: “being critically sick is isolating and unbearably sad,” “this is such a wonderful way to connect,” and this is “an incredible and much needed idea.”
- Video views: 9.4+ MM
- Social media impressions: 724+ MM
- Traditional Earned Media:
- 882 million impressions in top-tier media, including broadcast outlets that typically give pharmaceutical content little airtime: CBS This Morning, CBS Radio, AP (syndicated to USA Today), FOX News, Good Day NY, Parade, CURE and FiercePharma
- Every article featured key campaign messages
- All participants in the videos were featured in media coverage in their hometowns and participated in a podcast series on CURE Today