Mirum Pharmaceuticals and McCann Health New Jersey
The Unbearable Itch

Everyone knows that teddy bears — an iconic staple of childhood — are supposed to be happy, fluffy and playful. Not these bears. These toys are suffering to show physicians the devastating impact of the intense itching that comes with Alagille syndrome. They’ve got scratches, scars, poor weight gain and jaundiced fur. Slumped in postures of defeat, they poignantly demonstrate the problem with current treatments.

The campaign targets pediatric gastroenterologists and hepatologists, who typically use treatment workarounds to distract children from their Alagille symptoms, including intense itching, for as long as possible — until a liver transplant is the only option left. These audiences were rarely treating this rare disease, but fully subscribe to the belief that every life is precious and deserving of the best care. So The Unbearable Itch campaign aims to shift perceptions, urging doctors to treat the underlying cause of disease. 

With a goal of increasing physicians’ understanding of itch severity and disease burden on both patients and caregivers, it expands doctor’s understanding of source of the disease.

With a budget of less than $350,000, each execution reminds providers that when they focus on treatment workarounds, they overlook the unrelenting suffering of patients.

“This is beautiful work and very smart,” writes one judge. “A very clever way to symbolize the problem, without being too gruesome,” says another.

Post-launch studies find they had a demonstrable impact. Providers are now more likely to evaluate the syndrome’s effect on children’s quality of life, sleep and mental health.


Daiichi Sankyo and Area 23
Tired Greatness

What if Mozart or DaVinci had been so worn down by iron deficiency anemia they couldn’t get out of bed to create anything? That’s the premise of this campaign, which aimed to raise awareness of fatigue, dizziness, weakness and shortness of breath anemia causes. The cost of the effort? Just $2,500 for illustrations, which use 3-D and digital painting.