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Advancing the Unmet Needs of Patients with Rare Diseases

Building a proprietary art-based learning initiative to explore themes and address issues between patients, physicians and families in a novel, sensitive and entertaining way.

Becoming Christopher

Fewer than 35,000 people in the U.S. are currently diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), meaning the entire community – consisting of patients, their families and healthcare support teams – is extremely small and information is shared rapidly. In 2007, as the newest player in the tight-knit CF community, Novartis needed to quickly and meaningfully demonstrate their commitment to providing support. CCA was charged with creating a communications program to be launched at the largest annual gathering of the CF community. We went out on a limb – choosing film as our medium to depict relevant, sensitive and topical issues that allowed our client to “cognitively connect” with their customers in the CF community. We produced two short films: Becoming Christopher and a sequel, Christopher Chronicles. The films portray Christopher Morgan, a fictional 22 year-old living with CF, as he faces the challenges and opportunities of adulthood with the support of family, friends and his healthcare team. Our client made a major impression on the audience of medical professionals by shattering pre-conceived expectations for corporate/pharmaceutical company efforts at a medical meeting. By embracing the most critical issues for the CF community and appealing emotionally through the dramatic arts, Becoming Christopher and the Christopher Chronicles opened the CF community’s minds to new concepts and enabled them to trust Novartis as a partner who clearly understood the critical disease issues they face on a daily basis.

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A Patient-centric Approach as Early as 1996