The MS Society has launched a hard-hitting public appeal to raise £100 million to stop multiple sclerosis (MS). The campaign features adverts showing real people living with the condition.
The Stop MS Appeal needs to raise the funds over 10 years to find treatments for everyone living with MS, which affects more than 100,000 people in the UK.
Publicis Health and Mediacom have worked with the MS Society on the campaign, which includes an emotive film produced by Archer’s Mark with award-winning director James Lawes.
The advert features four people living with MS and shows some of the daily challenges of life with the condition. As the stars get ready in the morning or wait for an MRI, they sing Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ – chosen because the lyrics reflect the MS community’s hope and ambitions for the future of treatment, and the positive changes possible through the Stop MS Appeal.
The film, which includes a voiceover from actor Dougray Scott, will first air in a slot during Channel 4’s new primetime show the Dog House (Thursday 10 October at 8pm). It is supported with digital and outdoor advertising featuring striking photography from Andy Lo Po, who also gave his time to the campaign for free.
The film and photography will also feature in a commercial partnership with Telegraph Spark. In addition to the reach of print and online articles, the Telegraph team expects to achieve a minimum of 1 million views or shares of the film – exposure that will to help raise awareness of the condition and the Stop MS Appeal. The team has also offered a £20,000 donation to Stop MS once the film has been viewed 20,000 times.
MS damages nerves in the body and makes it harder to do everyday things like walk, talk, eat and think. Treatments that do exist only work on one aspect of MS, the immune system, and only help people with the relapsing form of the condition.
The Stop MS Appeal will enable new projects, fund critical infrastructure, and deliver a first-of-its-kind MS clinical trials platform, which together could finally address the major unmet need in MS treatment.
A large number of people living with MS currently don’t have any treatment. But, with the backing of leading scientists, the MS Society believes that we can expect to see a range of treatments in late stage trials by as early as 2025.
Nick Moberly, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: “Research has got us to a critical point, and we can see a future where nobody needs to worry about MS getting worse. That means not living in fear you’ll be reliant on a wheelchair, or one day lose your independence.
“We believe we can stop MS, and the worldwide research community is coming together to help us achieve our ambitious goal. But we need to act now, and we need help. This campaign is the first step in reaching a vital new audience, and we are so incredibly grateful to all the amazing people who have helped make it possible.”
Andrew Spurgeon, Chief Creative Officer at Publicis Health, said: “Our ambition as a company is to create a world where people are equipped and motivated to take control of their health. The Stop MS campaign is the first of hopefully many meaningful CSR collaborations which really brings this to life.”
Director James Lawes said: “I met a number of people affected by the condition while making the film, and was motivated by the impact the Stop MS Appeal could have on them and others. There is so much hope for what this campaign can achieve and I’d love the advert to reach new audiences with that message, and get us closer to the £100 million target.”
Donna Nahal, 34, lives in Birmingham and appears in the Stop MS Appeal advert. She was diagnosed with the relapsing form of MS while studying at university.
She says: “I wanted to get involved with Stop MS to help people understand how the condition affects lives, and inspire others to get behind research. When you’re diagnosed with MS it’s very easy to give up, but we are people fighting a battle every day – and we have to continue to fight. Right now I feel the future is filled with hope, and together we can stop MS.”