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Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

MS LifeLines - The Power of Community

Entered in Online Community


Every year, more than 10,000 people are diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis in the US.

Our challenge was to reignite interest in Rebif® (interferon beta-1a), a gold standard in treating relapsing MS for over 15 years. Now, unlike when it was introduced, Rebif faced more than 10 competitors. But Rebif had one advantage others lacked: MS LifeLines, a patient support program like no other.

MS LifeLines' mission is to offer connections, understanding, and support to people taking or considering Rebif, and the family and friends who care for them. It's a real community where people help each other through the loneliness and unpredictability of MS. It does this through its website,, as well as a Call Center, YouTube channel, print and e-newsletters, a team of field nurses who conduct home visits, and a patient ambassador program offering one-on-one consultations with experienced patients.

The emotional connection and appreciation people living with MS have felt for MS LifeLines over the years has been unprecedented. Our goal was to recreate this community feeling on Facebook, extending the warm embrace of MS LifeLines exponentially to the 400,000+ people living with MS across the US, their friends, and families and encouraging them to help spread the word. Reaching out through social media would help reassure current Rebif patients that the "old" brand is still relevant, while introducing newly diagnosed people to Rebif and the welcoming support that the MS LifeLines community provides.

Strategy and Execution

We explored the relationship between Rebif patients and MS LifeLines, and tapped into the wisdom of our patient ambassadors.

The Insight: MS unpredictability creates insecurity.
The Proposition: Create security for an unpredictable world.

How do we deliver this? Shared wisdom, extraordinary support and emotional connection.

Every person living with MS has a different experience with the disease, yet almost everyone has moments of feeling fear, isolation, and misunderstanding. We've learned through working with patients that one of the best ways to bridge these feelings is to share the personal experiences of people who have "been there." Thus the MS LifeLines community makes extensive use of the personal stories of the patient ambassadors. They're consistently positive, on-brand, and motivating, and always ultimately credit some of their therapeutic success to Rebif.

When creating the MS LifeLines Facebook community, we knew that the ambassadors' stories and experiences needed to be a vital element. However, to keep people interested and coming back, we also needed more to our content…to educate, to entertain, to sympathize, to cheer, and to always encourage discussion, participation, and sharing. So, the 12-or-so posts we create each month approach life with MS from a variety of angles: disease education, appreciation of what patients and care partners go through, opinions, promotion of MS LifeLines services like the Call Center or Financial Support Specialists, fun holiday posts, and always an inclusive, caring attitude.

Many of our posts are boosted to increase their reach beyond our regular subscribers, and they are designed to meet Facebook's regulations for doing so. Readers are also encouraged to share posts on their own Facebook pages. Although not many people need encouragement to do so because from the comments people leave, they are more than happy to have a community that "gets" them, supports them, and that they can emotionally connect with. In fact, the comments readers leave are a great way of seeing what's on readers' minds and provide insights into the posts we create in the future.

Not many pharma companies can say they placed "social" at the heart of their campaign. But Rebif can. In fact, we created an entire content-driven ecosystem to generate and share patient experiences across all platforms, with Facebook and YouTube bringing the larger MS online community into our "Strength in Numbers" campaign.


The success of the MS LifeLines Facebook page has exceeded all expectations. Not only has it become a gathering place for Rebif patients, but it's become the most engaged community for people living with MS on Facebook. It's a meeting place for patients on all the different medications, their friends, families, and supporters. It's where they can support and cheer each other (or gripe as needed), swap experiences, compare notes, find inspiration, and finally feel understood.

In 2016:

• We passed 190,000 fans

• Each post was seen by an average of 73,000 people which led to over 1.3 million engagements (reactions, shares, comments, link clicks, or video plays)

• Every day our page content is seen by an average of 43,000 people

• The MS LifeLines Facebook Page generated 19 million total impressions

Results over last year

2015 vs 2016

Total reach: 1,616,677 vs. 10,615,262

Comments: 5,019 vs. 41,313

Likes: 81,704 vs. 739,028

Shares: 22,662 vs. 138,931


Video for MS LifeLines - The Power of Community

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Digitas Health , EMD Serono


Entry Credits