The Alzheimer League Flanders launched a series of radio-documentaries to give young onset dementia sufferers a voice. These portraits aired on national radio during prime time. Six courageous patients shared their dearest memory, the one which they refuse to lose.
The documentaries called upon other dementia patients to immortalize their dearest memories on our platform imstillhere.be. A new transmitting platform where people could record messages and have it sent to their loved ones on a future date of your choice. When dementia might have taken over and they are no longer able to tell them their selves.
The Alzheimer League Flanders developed a new platform in collaboration with the Paradox Dementia Expertise Centre, on which people with dementia can leave their memories for later. The website is accessible to everyone. Anyone who wants to immortalize a message can do so via imstillhere.be. It’s very simple, just enter the recipient’s contact details, leave a message and decide when it should be delivered.
The mini-documentaries which accompanied the website aired on national radio stations. These were specifically broadcasted before and after official news bulletins which only helped strengthen their impact. They aired on national radio stations during prime time for a week.
I’m still here conquered the hearts of Belgians in a rapid pace through radio, written press & television. Our campaign made headlines throughout the country:
- Most shared topic in Belgian press during the campaign period.
- Front-page news in Belgium’s biggest papers and cultural magazines (Het Laatste Nieuws, De Morgen, Knack etc.).
- Full-page reports in two major newspapers including reader’s letters about the campaign.
- Main item during the evening news broadcast on television station VTM reaching 1.500.000 viewers.
- Additional airtime was offered by radio stations and Belgium’s biggest cinema chain Belgium, Kinepolis.
This attention delivered over 33 million impressions (on a population of only 6 million in Flanders), resulting in 19.700 shared articles online and over 4.000 unique visitors on the dedicated portal site.
To finish it all off, we got the official support of Belgium’s Minister of Health who decided to improve the existing health plans for dementia patients. In the end our campaign not only supported early-onset dementia patients, we also gave them the hopes of a better future.
The brief for this campaign was simple: try to break the taboo around young dementia, a disease that isn’t well known by the majority of the society and often associated with older people. We created a documentary of 6 courageous patients who recorded their dearest memories on national radio. We aired the 1’30” recordings right before the news bulletins to attract the attention of journalists. It got immediately picked up by Belgian press. The patients were invited for interviews and news reports. They got full page coverage, were interviewed on radio and became the main news item on the news.
Breaking the young onset dementia taboo required a large enough reach which wouldn’t be achieved if only the Alzheimer League Flanders would be talking about it.
It would require the participation from patients (and their loved ones) as well.
That’s why we chose to create a tool they could actually use instead of a more traditional one-way communication campaign.
Combining this tool with the first examples of a few courageous patients which aired on national radio helped us clarify the devastating impact of young onset dementia to a much broader audience as well.