PSCs national ad campaign hits home

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A man is sitting in an armchair in his living room when he hears the phone ringing in the kitchen. He rises apprehensively from his chair to make his way to the telephone. Suddenly, he is tackled by an intruder who physically prevents him from getting to the phone. Books, plates and chairs come crashing down around him as the telephone continues to ring and he struggles to get to it. Terrified, he looks into the face of his attacker and sees himself – his own body is wrestling with him, keeping him from doing the simple task of getting to the phone. Nothing’s easy when your body turns against you.

A woman sits at her kitchen table with a steaming mug of coffee in her left hand. Her despondent gaze, however, is focused on her right hand holding a creamer filled with milk. The look on her face says it all. “How am I going to pour this milk into my coffee?”  She knows this everyday task is going to present insurmountable challenges for her as her hands multiply to four and take a firm grip on her right arm, preventing her from adding milk to the now lukewarm mug of coffee. Everything’s harder when your body turns against you.

These two images are from a provocative national ad campaign themed, “Everything’s harder when your body turns against you,” which Parkinson Society Canada launched in April 2008. Designed to convey the struggle that people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience daily, the controversial vignettes were created by TAXI 2, one of the top ad agencies in Canada.

The goals of the campaign were to show the world the daily reality of the over 100,000 Canadians living with PD, in a way that people could understand, and to dispel the myths that surround the disease. The campaign also sets the stage to raise much-needed funds for research and support services.

Gaggi Media, a media planning agency, secured pro-bono air and print space for the ads which appeared on television, social media networks, billboards, physicians’ office TV screens, the Globe and Mail, industry and mainstream magazines, and websites such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube.

Public response to these hard-hitting images was overwhelming and led to increased visits to www.parkinson.ca during the campaign. The ads were also rated as one of the top 10 ads on the Internet during April.

This thought-provoking campaign was created in collaboration with hundreds of Canadians with PD who shared their insights and experiences with the creative team to ensure powerful messaging that was genuine and truthful. Life can be a hard reality for those living with PD. Through these ads, PSC hopes to generate greater understanding and support.

To view the ads, visit www.parkinson.ca and click on Media Centre.

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