Over 31 million people in the U.S. have some form of eczema – a chronic inflammatory disease of the immune system often characterized by a cycle of intense itching and scratching that can lead to cracked, scaly and oozing skin.
The physical symptoms of eczema are often the most visible; however, the impact of eczema is more than skin deep. The toll on the mental and emotional well-being of those living with this chronic skin condition can be significant.
In fact, research shows an impact on quality of life, with up to 50% of adults living with eczema reporting that they avoid social interactions because of their disease, and up to 30% of adults with moderate to severe eczema experiencing sleep-related issues.
Despite the significant impact on quality of life, patients often hesitate to speak up about the realities of living with the disease or don’t recognize that their condition could be better managed.
AbbVie saw a need to give voice to patients by raising awareness about the reality of living with eczema and offering resources for support. Through authentic storytelling, AbbVie aimed to:
AbbVie used impactful storytelling to raise awareness about eczema and shed light on the challenges faced by individuals living with this chronic skin disease. AbbVie partnered with award-winning Redglass Pictures to create a short documentary film, “Under My Skin: Untold Stories of Life with Eczema” to provide an authentic look into the lives of those who experience eczema.
The decision to use video as a medium for storytelling is powerful, as it allows for a more emotional and relatable portrayal of real-world experiences. Patient testimonials that included an honest portrayal of the emotional and mental struggles of living with eczema, were essential to underscore the importance of bringing these hidden stories to the forefront.
A wide range of stories, including patients, a caregiver, a healthcare professional, and an advocate were essential to highlighting a holistic storytelling approach. Acknowledging the role that these individuals play in supporting patients emphasizes the need for a comprehensive understanding of the condition's impact on patients' lives.
To launch in a big way, AbbVie hosted an event to debut the documentary at South by Southwest (SXSW), which was a strategic move to generate buzz and publicity. This platform allowed AbbVie to reach a diverse audience, including entertainment and trade media, and leverage a celebrity with a personal connection to eczema to host the film’s debut screening.
The inclusion of a red carpet at the debut with a Getty photographer not only added a touch of glamour but also created a visually engaging opportunity to capture attention and generate media coverage.
By combining elements like documentary filmmaking, influencer engagement, a panel discussion with a celebrity host, and a red-carpet event, AbbVie effectively maximized the impact of the documentary. This multi-faceted approach ensured that the realities of those living with eczema were brought to the forefront of public consciousness, fostering empathy and understanding among a broader audience while also inspiring others living with eczema to seek appropriate support and live a life unhindered by their disease.
To continue driving awareness, additional execution elements included:
AbbVie’s patient-centric approach, informed by real insights and creative thinking, yielded meaningful results and met established objectives, specifically:
Strong Social Performance:
Substantial Media Coverage:
Unique Execution Extensions:
Beyond the quantitative metrics, the content and storytelling approach resonated with patients, with one person noting on social media, “What an important film on a very overlooked condition” and another commenting, “If all pharmaceutical companies took this approach, just imagine how much better #PatientCentered care could be.”