Category sponsored by Rare Disease Advisor


Boehringer Ingelheim and Area 23 
The Unwearable Collection

This effort, which also takes a Gold award in the Disease Education category, elevates medical marketing to an entirely different realm with a breathtaking spin on high-fashion aesthetics.

The disconnect between haute couture and Generalized Pustular Psoriasis (GPP) is deliberate. This rare skin condition can turn deadly in as little as two hours, causing open wounds to erupt all over a patient’s body. Because it’s so rare, dermatologists are unfamiliar with its consequences or how to manage such a severe condition. And too often, it’s treated as a less severe form of psoriasis.

This campaign, introduced at the beginning of dermatology’s biggest conference, tapped fashion designer Bart Hess, whose clothing is worn by the likes of Lady Gaga. Based on the painful words actual patients used to describe GPP, he fashioned four stunning outfits called The Unwearable Collection. 

Constructed of shards of broken plexiglass and mirrors, hundreds of knives and razors bolted together, they symbolized pain and isolation. The booth, which included a documentary about the collection, was the convention’s most visited.

Judges love this effort. “This blew me away,” says one. “Wonderful craft, impeccable execution,” says another. “A new and completely fresh way to deliver a signs-and-symptoms effort,” adds a third, especially impressed by the use of earned media to support the collateral. 

And yes, this work shone because of the  photography and presentation, which included a high-end photo book. But it wins because of its astonishing ability to inspire empathy about what it must feel like to endure GPP. 


Stemline Therapeutics and Vue Health
Bag the Boss Experiential Booth

Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare and life-threatening hematologic cancer. Untreated, it can rapidly progress to acute leukemia. And it often hides in plain sight. This effort turns physicians into detectives, and the diagnostic process into a fun and competitive puzzle. The booth attracted 60 teams, totaling 200 participants, averaging 14.5 minutes per engagement. Best of all, 99% of teams correctly identified BPDCN as the culprit.