A new YouTube series is helping people break out of their comfort zones, reconnect with loved ones and prepare for a bright future, but it’s not from a Hollywood studio. In what the creators of the series are calling the “first bingeable campaign,” Genentech is bringing reality TV to pharma.
The series, Challenge Accepted, helps real hemophilia A patients and caregivers face the reality of living with the bleeding disorder. In the episodes, one patient needs to break out of his routine, another prepares for aging with the disease and two caregiver parents are reminded to take time for themselves. Each episode tackles one issue facing many in the hemophilia community.
The show isn’t all doctor visits and talking heads. Host Justin Willman takes Taylor, a college-aged hemophilia patient who has found himself in a rut, into the woods in the pouring rain with survival expert Cody Lundin. They eat strange plants and talk about making the best of a rainy situation.
Another patient, Devon, is worried about getting older while managing his hemophilia. He, Willman and Mark Skinner, the former president of the World Federation of Hemophilia, visit a home for the elderly for bingo, speed walking and a heart-to-heart about being proactive when planning for one’s future with hemophilia.
Caregiver parents Jessica and Mark have put their marriage on the back burner to care for two children with hemophilia A. Willman helps them take time for their relationship with cooking classes with chef Graham Elliot and a romantic dinner se
rved by their three sons. They reflect on how being a caregiver can take over one’s life and that they need to remember to take time to indulge.
Alongside patient education, Genentech manages to have fun with the series. Willman parties with some senior citizens, Lundin is spooked by a man in a bear costume and two caregiver parents have their romantic date crashed. There’s magic and jokes alongside conversations about a serious disease and, somehow, it works. It treads closer to reality lifestyle shows than a typical pharma campaign.
Beyond the silly, and sometimes awkward, scenes, Challenge Accepted gets valuable information in front of hemophilia patients and caregivers, like how to exercise properly, not letting the condition hold them back and taking time out of caregiving to keep relationships strong.
Genentech worked with ad agency 21Grams on the series. New episodes will be released each Thursday on YouTube.
The pharma company, part of Roche, makes hemophilia A treatment Hemlibra. The drug was approved for hemophilia A with inhibitors in November 2017, and expanded its label to include treatment without inhibitors last year.