Live from Cannes Lions Health: When we heard one of our favorite Syneos Health alums was presenting at Cannes Lions, we knew we had to be there. Frank Mazzola is now the Chief Creative Officer at 21GRAMS. He was joined by Suha Patel, Marketing Principal at Genentech, to take us into a bingeable campaign created for people living with hemophilia.
Here’s what we know about those people: it’s more than just bleeding. Hemophilia impacts huge parts of their lives, creating issues from depression to guilt to financial pressure to strained relationships. And, not just for the people living with the disease, but all the people around them who love them.
This community knows the disease. Genentech wanted to talk about something different: those real-life issues not enough people were addressing.
The kind of brief you might expect here: make a flashcard or a website. Instead, to breakthrough, Genentech asked the team to break the ice.
Mazzola said they started by thinking about the customer: young men who give a lot of life to their disease and like to consume information on their screens. They’re much more likely to consume video on those screens than other demographics. Then, they dug into the competition for a topic like this: the skip ad button and topic avoidance, these just aren’t issues people want to talk about.
How do you make those uncomfortable issues mainstream? The same way so many industries have before us: make a show, make people laugh to take an issue from isolation to everyday conversation.
The show: Challenge Accepted. As the trailer says, “It’s a series about something everyone thinks about but not everyone talks about. Bring your hemophilia A game .” It’s hosted by a magician and includes real patients and celebrity coaches. Each of the six 15-minute episodes are real and relatable. And, we dare you not to laugh out loud watching them.
The production wasn’t easy. From the worst rain storms in California in the last decade to scheduling real patients with real lives, the team will have stories from this one for years. But, what Patel said is that one of the hardest things was being the first. She had to decide every morning, “do I want to be courageous or comfortable?” If she wanted to be comfortable, she’d make a brochure. To be courageous, she had to take the entire company and community on a journey, to keep them part of the process at each key point along the way.