Short List
Category E03. Pharma: Disease Awareness & Understanding
Idea Creation 2 McCANN PARIS, FRANCE
Additional Company AUREVOIRCHARLIE Levallois Perret, FRANCE
Name Company Position
Eloi Asseline Weber Shandwick France General manager France
Jean Paoli Weber Shandwick France Senior Strategist and Creative
Elise Decultot Weber Shandwick France Strategist
Valentin Vezinat Weber Shandwick France Senior Art Director
Emilie Barrail Weber Shandwick France Associate director
Merryl Marcout Weber Shandwick France Associate Director, Head of Healthcare
Anaïs Petit Weber Shandwick France Account Director
Elodie Ferreira Weber Shandwick France Associate
Adrien Le Grand Weber Shandwick France Senior copywriter
David Puiroux Weber Shandwick France Art Director
Riccardo Fregoso McCann Paris Executive Creative Director, Creative President
Julien Chiapolini McCann Paris Executive Creative Director
Sebastien Boutebel McCann Paris Creative Director
Romain Benard McCann Paris Art Director
Anne Sophie Guerin McCann Paris Copywriter
Vincent Rebouah McCann Paris Copywriter
Sylvie Hirrien Novartis France Head of Communications & Patient Advocacy
Elodie Charmat Novartis France Marketing Lead Heart Failure
Annick Roche Novartis France Patient Advocacy manager
Cecile Gonsard Novartis France Communications Manager
Yannis Cullaz CRAFT France Managing Director
Martine Ferey-Youssourou CRAFT France Head of post production
Alexis Goldenberg CRAFT France Editor / motion designer
Yoel Dreux CRAFT France Productor

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Heart failure is impacting more than one million people in France. With early detection of the disease, patient outcomes are greatly improved thanks to innovative treatment provided by Novartis. However many patients are not aware of the early signs of heart failure leading to delays in diagnosis which can have fatal consequences. Disease awareness and education is therefore top of the agenda for Novartis, and in order to drive mass awareness of the symptoms of heart failure, we created a PR led creative concept that allows healthy people to actually experience what it’s like to live with the symptoms.

Describe any restrictions or regulations regarding Healthcare/RX/Pharma communications in your country/region including:

In France, we cannot communicate on the Novartis heart failure treatment because it's under prescription. That's also why we made a campaign focused on awareness rather than on the product.

Describe the target audience and why your work is relevant to them.

Target audiences are multiple and have different expectations: Patients want to be better understood and the general public doesn't know the symptoms. So we invited those who don't have the symptoms to live them in an immersive experience based on patients’ feelings.


The brief was to make Novartis the authority on heart failure among 4 targets: journalists, patients, patients' relatives, general public. Heart failure is impacting more than one million French people: their heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. As the provider of one of the most effective heart failure treatment, Novartis has a leading role to play in its management and awareness. We learned that half of the hospitalizations could be avoided if the patient had been diagnosed earlier. But in France, only one in ten people knows the first signs of the disease. From that our objective was simple: to raise awareness of the symptoms of heart failure by spreading the message about what it’s like to live with it, and ultimately help save lives by increasing early detections.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We created an apartment where everyone can feel the symptoms of heart failure. Partnering with the 4 biggest heart failure patients associations in France we gathered hundreds of testimonials from real patients explaining in their own words how their symptoms affect their daily life, as well as the first warning signs they noticed that led them to visit their doctor. Based on these testimonials we transformed every detail of the apartment to make journalists, friends and family of patients, and the general public feel what it’s like to live with heart failure, and to get them talking about the symptoms. The apartment was created in Paris. To extend the reach of the idea we also created an immersive website experience that allowed people to virtually visit it. Additionally, we created video assets that were shared online.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

The main strategic challenge was the diversity of the target audiences that we needed to reach: patients, general public, patients' relatives, and journalists, as well as the complexity of explaining abstract symptoms to them that are difficult to imagine unless experienced. So we involved patients themselves, consulting with them directly via a partnership with the 4 main patient associations in France to learn what it’s like to live with heart failure, enabling us to create a campaign that truly reflects the lived experience of patients, and therefore helping to better raise awareness among the 3 other target groups, in one place, at the same time: an apartment. The apartment was created to directly reflect patients’ experience of their symptoms so journalists and everyone else can see and share what it’s like to live with heart failure; because ultimately the best way to understand something is to experience it directly.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

A message from a patient was sent to journalists, inviting them in an apartment in Paris to discover its daily life. Inside, journalists discovered that the apartment was completely modified to create an experience that showed what it’s like to live with heart failure. We made the floors spongey so people could feel what it’s like to have heavy legs, we made objects in the apartment heavier, and the sofa more difficult to stand up from, so people could experience the extreme tiredness associated with heart failure. Every single detail of the apartment was considered to create a truly immersive experience for those who entered. An audio guide was given with patients' testimonials so they could understand why different aspects of the apartment had been modified in the way they had. At the end, people and journalists were invited to meet heart failure patients and professionals to discuss the experience.

List the results (30% of vote)

- Over 135 millions organic impressions highlighting the main symptoms of heart failure to a mainstream French audience, educating them about the early signs of the disease and promoting association of Novartis as the experts in heart failure (Kantar). - 100 pieces of coverage including national TV, newspaper and radio - One article in the most read daily newspaper in France - A 5 minute documentary on national TV following someone in the apartment - Over 90% of coverage mentioned Novartis + 110% increase in Google searches for “heart failure symptoms” (Google Trends) 17,440 average number of monthly searches for “heart failure” in France before activation 30,100 average number of monthly searches for “heart failure” during the campaign (source: Google Keyword Planner)