Our client was launching a drug to treat a disease state with a pervasive popular image: depression. They wanted to give their sales representatives a fresh perspective on the disease to show that it was more nuanced than had previously been believed. A further caveat to this launch was that the drug was the latest in a market saturated with alternate treatments for the condition—including one from the client itself. This demanded elucidation that this particular treatment addressed a niche population with a particularly inscrutable strain of depression. Our client asked us to come up with an inventive approach to educate, and re-inspire the sales team about a disease to which they, and the physicians they collaborated with, may have grown inured.
(ai) immediately saw the opportunity to focus on the human condition—rather than solely on the treatment—as a way to remind sales reps, and in turn, physicians, that this common disease warrants a second look. We came up with an artful, and profoundly moving campaign called “The Faces of Depression,” designed to personify those affected by Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Essential to the movement was that the drug needed to be distinguished from others on the market, and from the client’s other anti-depressant, as a second-course treatment. Ultra-realistic reenactments by actors representing the plight of actual patients combined with stunning multimedia installments heightened the launch’s opening moment to something of true beauty and depth. More than just evoking fanfare about a new product to sell, the show focused on the fact our client was giving MDD sufferers a second chance.
The campaign successfully educated the company field force on the impact of more aggressive forms of depression that aren’t resolved by first-line therapy. Immediately following the launch, there was a surge in sales, as representatives were able to prompt physicians to reconsider their approach to MDD patients. From a creative standpoint, our client was so impressed by the media show that they have started considering a human-centered approach to the launching of future drugs.