Category B02. Non-profit / Foundation-led Education & Awareness
Idea Creation EDELMAN Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Name Company Position
Seema Sharma Edelman Creative Director
Lauren Valbert Edelman CCL
Fleur Sachse Edelman Senior Account Executive

Why is this work relevant for PR?

'Experiasis' is a beauty cream with a difference, designed to give people first-hand experience of the often painful and embarrassing skin condition 'psoriasis'. The central creative idea, which fed in to a live stunt and led to mass media coverage with high engagement, had earned media at its heart. Every part of the PR strategy from central creative idea and execution, to online presence, influencer activity, social activity, press release, media relations and live seminar was designed to raise issue (and brand) awareness and deliver high levels of coverage and engagement - which it did, with excellent results.


Psoriasis affects 125M people worldwide, including half a million people in The Netherlands. Despite that, the impact of this debilitating skin condition is little understood. Sufferers going about their everyday business with painful, visible red scaly patches on their skin and as if that wasn’t bad enough, often experience staring and disgust from others. Alarmingly, reports show that 50% of people still show discriminatory behaviour to those with psoriasis. People often think psoriasis is contagious and caused by poor hygiene and sufferers have been stared at and even called 'dirty' by members of the public. The Dutch Association for Dermatology and Venereology (NVDV) wanted to change this. They challenged us to create a campaign, raising awareness of psoriasis amongst the general public. Objectives: • Highlight the social impacts of psoriasis • Help to counter misconceptions of the condition • Break taboos and get people talking about the disease

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

INSIGHT The beauty industry spends billions on advertising products to make our skin look better...but not everyone can have perfect skin. Psoriasis sufferers deal with this every day – and the more ‘solutions’ they are shown to fix their ‘imperfect’ skin, the worse they feel. What if instead of focussing on how to make skin 'better', we focus on spreading empathy and understanding? IDEA We created ‘Experiasis’: a beautifully packaged, custom-made ‘beauty brand’ with a twist, to launch across all channels on World Psoriasis Day…. When applied to the skin, the latex-based, coloured make-up solution imitates the colour and feel of psoriasis, giving users a vivid, first-hand experience of living with the condition. A live stunt exposing influencers to the physical and the social discomfort of the disease would give them an inescapably direct and personal experience, which could then be shared to generate mass awareness.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

To make people stop and stare, we needed to create a beauty brand with an ugly truth, from scratch. Design of the cream to realistically mirror psoriasis symptoms plus the luxury look of the ‘brand’, aligning with the standard ‘beauty brand’ expectations, would be key to the campaign's success, ramping up the element of surprise. We collaborated with dermatologists, make-up artists and patients to test the concept. Then, we ensured that ‘Experiasis’, our beautifully packaged, custom-made latex-based make-up solution was ready to ‘launch’ across all channels on World Psoriasis Day. To create mass awareness and earn media and Influencer attention, we designed an ambitious integrated campaign, including live experiential content at a press and influencer event at the Amsterdam Tower. This was followed by press release distribution, supported by our supported by our online film and social sharing throughout the month. Target audience: general public, 16 yrs+

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

A campaign film charted key facts about the condition and showed how the product was made was created to shatter misconceptions about the condition, with the voices of sufferer Naomi Ruesen, dermatologist Karlijn Mulder and resulting work of special effects artist Yascha Puts reflected. Dramatic footage of our non-sufferers ‘peeling off’ the product to reveal healthy skin underneath turns familiar ‘before and after’ images used by the beauty business on their head. Two key influencers, Vet Gezellig and Debbie Zwiers, were selected to trial the product and create authentic content about their experience of psoriasis in social situations to educate followers on launch day and the weeks after launch. We also used our events, media and influencer relations expertise to reach our target audience and hit the mainstream, next to specialist or healthcare media and influencers. Media and social outreach continued over the course on one month.

List the results (30% of vote)

From being an awareness day which received little traction, our beauty cream ‘launch’ reached 3.5m in the NL. • 13 national / lifestyle media inc. interviews in one of the largest daily newspapers In the Netherlands, Parool, and lifestyle title LINDA • 1.3 million impressions on social media with engagement of Dutch Influencers above benchmark / 2,000 heart-warming engagements • Key influencer partnerships with Vet Gezellig’ and ‘Debbie Zwiers’: total reach 53,000+ / engagement rate of 8.5% Positive comments showed a new wave of understanding and encouraged people with psoriasis to reach out and tell their own stories Social media reactions included: - "Respect for the way you expose this. You have broken a taboo." (reply on Vet Gezellig's YouTube video) - "No one Is perfect! You are beautiful the way you are. This Is simply touching to see." - "I'm watching this with tears In my eyes."