Even the most important causes have to compete. And here in the Northwest, the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society was losing the battle for awareness and public support to more highly publicized causes such as AIDS and breast cancer.
The Greater Northwest Chapter of the MS Society raises money to fund research and to provide services to thousands of patients and their families. But in order to fulfill that mission, it wouldn’t be enough to simply make people aware. With an extremely limited budget, we had to make people care, and to see that MS is not just another problem.
We looked at plenty of secondary research and conducted a small qualitative study of our own with patients, friends and family members, physicians and other caregivers. Among other things, we learned that MS is more prevalent here in the Northwest than almost anywhere else in the world. And when we shared this fact with people, they definitely wanted to know more. Why would such a beautiful place have more than its share of such an awful disease?
Thanks to a simple, powerful idea, the generosity of media partners who donated thousands in either free or discounted placements and a microsite we created (WhyHere.org) to further engage our audiences, MS quickly became a uniquely relevant and highly meaningful concern to people in Western Washington. Suddenly, people cared about this disease like never before.
Since this simple pro bono campaign launched, our client has seen a 50% increase in unaided awareness, participation in the BikeMS (a signature cycling fundraiser) has doubled and inbound calls to the Chapter have more than tripled. It’s definitely the advertising.