Ad Stars 2011

Mar 01, 2011
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Expecting More
Intouch Solutions

CLIENT: Abbott Labs
BRAND: Humira
AGENCY: Intouch Solutions
CREATIVE TEAM: Marty Canniff, creative director; Craig Johnston, associate creative director; Svitlana Kochman, senior copywriter; June Lee, art director; Molly Buczynski, account director
LEFT TO RIGHT: Marty Canniff; Svitlana Kochman, Angela Tenuta, vice president, client services; June Lee, Molly Buczynski

An exit sign, running water, a street map ... to many people, these are seemingly unrelated images. To a person with Crohn's disease, they are signs of the behaviors they engage in to "manage" their disease—what Intouch Solutions calls "workaround behaviors"—ways that many Crohn's sufferers adapt their lifestyles and change their habits to work around their disease, instead of seeking a more effective treatment.

The Intouch 2010 Humira Crohn's campaign does more than let patients with Crohn's disease know about a new treatment they should try. Instead, it uses images and an online quiz to help patients recognize common behaviors they are engaging in to manage their disease that may impact their lives in a negative way. The online "Crohn's Workaround Quiz" asks five questions: "Do you know the locations of all the 'best' bathrooms? Do you often choose the spot near the door—just in case? Do you excuse yourself often to use the bathroom? Do you skip meals to try to avoid Crohn's symptoms? Do you find yourself hiding behind running water?"

Asking questions like these helps patients feel a sense of community and helps them realize they are not alone in these behaviors. Focus groups helped the creative team behind the campaign learn about these workaround behaviors. "It's a very private disease," says Marty Canniff, creative director. "When we did a little bit of research, the insight that we got was that these patients don't tell a lot of people, including their spouses or their physicians, what exactly they're going through."

But how does recognizing a population's disease management tactics—and helping that population to recognize these behaviors in themselves—lead to behavior change and ultimately lead to the brand the campaign is promoting? Canniff explains that though the patients initially believe these behaviors mean they are managing their Crohn's disease well, the lifestyle change is often larger than patients realize. "One of the patients we spoke with took the night shift at work because he just wasn't able to hold a day job with all the interruptions that his Crohn's symptoms cause," he says.

Helping patients realize how big the impact on their lifestyle truly is becomes the first step in showing them that they can expect more with a different treatment option. "In addition to getting patients to recognize that they're doing these things, instead of just going into a physician's office and saying they have abdominal pain, we want to make sure that they're sharing with their physicians even these workarounds they've created, to get the doctor to understand that their current treatment probably isn't working as well as it should," says Molly Buczynski, account director.

Once patients recognize their behaviors and understand that effective treatment should reduce or eliminate those behaviors, the website leads patients to learn more about Humira. "We're trying to get patients to understand that the end goal for any Crohn's patient should be remission, and that's what they should expect," says Buczynski.

"We work on pushing them to desire a change in treatment because now they're expecting a little bit more, and then we follow that with explaining how Humira could be the solution. And then we drive them to the doctor," adds Canniff.

While many Ad Stars stand out from the crowd because of unique visuals, the Humira campaign stands out because it is active—rather than passive—advertising. Instead of presenting a brand to the patients, Intouch made an effort to relate to patients, to help them realize something about their own lives and their disease, and to motivate them with a desire for change. "Rather than presenting people who are doing well and have their symptoms under control, we're starting more from an insider's viewpoint," explains Canniff. "We're leading them down a path rather than giving them a solution right away." – JR

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