First-person is overdone in the healthcare space — which means it’s the perfect time to do it again, but differently. From first-person opioid poetry to an FPV camera that puts us directly into the head of an Alzheimer’s patient, here’s a look at four campaigns that prove this storytelling motif can go so much deeper than generic patient testimonials.

Carry On, Cleveland

“They say kites rise highest against the wind. And I say, so do we.” With opioid overdoses on the rise in America, especially among Black men, the second installment in 2nd Act’s naloxone campaign hits hard. Our narrator, a member of the recovery community, reads us a poem that details his reasons for hanging on to life. His authentic perspective on ongoing addiction and recovery offers up a grit and determination that exposes the lie behind the clear blue skies and perfect smiles we often see in this space. It’s incredible.

The Glitch
BBDO Germany

First-person footage usually hails from the likes of GoPro adventure bros. That makes this short film, which is shot from the POV of an aging woman, quite unconventional — but it’s entirely effective for the Alzheimer’s space. The spot places us inside the woman’s head through an FPV camera, to which a Datamosh glitched effect is added as a metaphor for the woman’s brainwaves. The result is a haunting piece that takes us through her “glitches”: the terror, confusion and frustration caused by Alzheimer’s as she loses parts of her day, sense of time and, eventually, herself.

I Don’t Have a Box

Whether on census forms, patient intake sheets or work and school applications, we’ve all had to check the race box, in which you either fit neatly or you … don’t. In I Don’t Have a Box, Calcium seeks to draw attention to the second most widely ticked census box in America: “other race.” Why? Because racial specificity matters when it comes to medical research and treatment. As part of the campaign, Calcium is asking audiences on social media to share their difficulties with racial and ethnic identity. In doing so, they can expose the people behind the box — and, hopefully, effect change in the way they’re treated.

Quirk Creative

A first-person approach in the abortion rights movement is effective for two reasons. One, it can correct the narrative around who receives abortions. And two, abortion stories are taboo, and taboos are always compelling. In #itsyourcall, the National Abortion Federation invites women to break that taboo and reclaim their narrative. In so doing, it shows that abortions are needed by people from all walks of life — and that whatever your reason, having an abortion is your call.

Connelly Partners

Maybe I cheated here. Maybe the first lines are so powerful, I got carried away and characterized it as first-person when it’s not strictly that. Still: “I’m not here to fire you up.” Arena lights pound as they flick in rapid succession; I get chills. “If you’re not already fired up, you shouldn’t be in this room.” It’s a solid opening to a spot that delivers a classic halftime speech on behalf of the V Foundation for Cancer Research. It’s a nod to founder and coach Jim Valvano’s ESPYs speech as well as a straight, determined look into a real future, one where cancer research today means a cure tomorrow. Legendary coach meets inspiring speech: This spot slides seamlessly into March Madness, celebrates the Foundation’s 30th anniversary and makes us all believe (while pulling out our wallets to donate).