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Shaking Up Audience Perspectives for Parkinson's Disease Research

Global Pictures produced the Shake It Up Australia Foundation TVC in Sydney, Australia
Shake It Up Australia Foundation TVC produced by Global.

Young people and Parkinson's disease are not two things most people would associate with each other. So when Parkinson's disease research organisation Shake It Up Australia Foundation agreed to have Global produce their annual Pause 4 Parkinson's fund raising TVC, we decided the most impact would come from a spot which highlights young onset Parkinson's disease.

Diving deep into the clients' message needs, we learned that while most people think of Parkinson's disease as an older persons disease there are about 20,000 people currently diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease in Australia.  The organisation was also battling the stereotype that it was mainly men who are diagnosed with the disease and that most people not directly affected by the disease don't consider donating to research.

Considering this, it became obvious to us what the story angle needed to be. We pitched the idea to the client that the spot needed to prominently feature a young woman who was suffering from Parkinson's. The ad had to have an emotional element to it, so the screen talent needed to be a real person diagnosed with the disease - not an actor. We'd use cinematic techniques, slow motion and voiceover to tell this story. And above all, it had to be really personal. 

The client loved the idea and took to their list of contacts to find Nikki Blackwood. Nikki, a young mother living with her husband and infant son in Sydney, was diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 35. We didn't want to script her story. The integrity of her story was paramount to our TV commercial. Our creative idea was to interview her and let her tell her own story. A true story. A story of heartbreak and pain. A story that would evoke an emotional response from the audience and lead to donations for Parkinson's disease research.

Take a look at the ad below:

Filmed at a warehouse in Sydney, the atmosphere we created in this television commercial contributes to the story on a subliminal level. The deteriorating warehouse symbolises the toll the disease is taking on the nervous system, while the emptiness of the space around the talent delivers subtext on the isolation many of the patients we interviewed said they felt. 

The ad was a huge success. Coupling a national broadcast with a digital outdoor campaign the ad delivered a sizeable increase in donations compared with previous years. As as package we also delivered 2-minute video interviews with each of the talent involved for use as social content and a radio edit of the ad.

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