INSIGHT

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a rare genetic condition that deteriorates progressively and sometimes has fatal consequences. In Italy, SMA affects approximately 1 in 10.000 newborns and is the first genetic cause of infant mortality.

Biogen chose a unique medium to support the SMA community: a fictional fable for children, teens and parents around the world titled, “A Wolf tells the SMA Story.” The illustrated collection of short stories offered an inspirational tool with which to better understand the condition’s most challenging moments as well as the resources needed to face SMA’s various stages.

IDEA

Written in simple yet engaging language, “A Wolf tells the SMA Story” was based on real patient stories which were transformed into fables that told - in a fresh new way - the wide range of emotions those living with SMA experience daily.

We supported Biogen - pioneer in neuroscience – by coordinating the development of the project with the European Institute of Design in Milan, psychologist Jacopo Casiraghi (the book’s author) and illustrator Samuele Gaudio. We then developed a contemporary, digital-centric multi-channel communication strategy with the goal to engage not only patients and stakeholders, but also generate SMA awareness within the general population.

IMPACT

Following the success of the print edition, more than 23.000 additional copies of the book were distributed on a complimentary basis at 22 Feltrinelli bookshops in the main Italian cities. “A Wolf tells the SMA” rapidly evolved and was transformed into an e-book available on the project’s website and through online retailers like Feltrinelli, Kobo and Mondadori. But the content didn’t stop there. Actors Luca Ward and Nicolas Vaporidis were engaged to create 14 podcast episodes, making the stories available on demand on Spotify, Apple, Google, and Spreaker.

The campaign achieved remarkable results thanks to 4.000+ e-book downloads, 7.000+ podcast listens and 700+ press articles for a combined reach of over 260 million. And a cartoon is coming soon!

“A wolf tells the SMA story” received the full support and endorsement of the SMA community and the patronage of the main patient associations: SMA Families, the Association for the Study of Infantile Spinal Muscular Dystrophies (ASAMSI), the Italian Society of Neurology (SIN), the Italian Association of Myology (AIM), the Italian Union Fighting Muscular Dystrophy (UILDM), and the National Council of the Order of Psychologists (CNOP).

The campaign has received numerous awards, including:

- 2021 Assorel Prize Awards, “Healthcare / Pharmaceutical”

- 2021 Assorel Prize Awards, Special Award “Best Narrative Development”

- 2021 Assorel Prize Awards, Special Award “Best Creative PR Idea”