When trying to connect with people, you must first grab their attention. Once you have their attention, you need to understand what motivates them to act. Why? Because telling people to do something is not enough to change how they behave.

Here are some campaigns that use insight into how patients perceive their illness to fuel their creative approach and drive change in behavior. 

Ashley Jones is group associate creative director at MicroMass Communications.

The Hardest Crossword
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Area 23

These unsolvable crossword puzzles were published in major newspapers across the country. What works best in this campaign is that, rather than telling you about Alzheimer’s disease, it shows what it feels like: confusion, helplessness, and frustration. It’s simple, powerful, and relatable.

Toddler Tips
Monmouth Sleep Center, McCann Echo

If only we could all sleep like babies. That’s the insight that drives this campaign. Using a clever visual juxtaposition, it illustrates how the strategies we use to help babies sleep can be used to help adults, as well. 

Lighter Blue
Takeda Pharmaceuticals/Lundbeck, Klick Health/McCann HumanCare

There is always a campaign that makes you think, “I wish I’d done that.” This is the one for me. How do you raise awareness about major depressive disorder without alienating people? Lighter Blue does it by using a light-hearted tone that does not minimize what people with depression live with. It’s authentic, funny, and painful all at the same time.

Putting Physicians in Their Patients’ Shoes
Galderma, McCann Echo

Epiduo captures the embarrassment of acne with the simplest visual. The image of someone looking at their own feet conveys an understanding of what people with acne live with each day: looking down, avoiding eye contact, and hiding their face. This reality is what may drive someone to try something new. 

Her Endometriosis Reality
AbbVie, FCB Health

This series is painful to look at, and that’s the point. Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose, and many women have simply accepted this is what they have to live with. The stark visual of a woman in pain in the middle of everyday situations gets to the heart of the patient experience. 

Face the World
Otsuka/Lundbeck, Evoke Health

The insight that drives this Rexulti campaign is simple. People who treat their depression often hide they still have symptoms. The image of a smiley face masking what someone really feels gets to the heart of what may be holding someone back from talking to their doctor.