MS Australia – This Bike has Multiple Sclerosis
Building understanding of MS by bringing it to life
There are over 25,000 people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Australia. On average, more than 10 Australians are diagnosed with MS every week. There is currently no cure. Not-for-profit organisation MS Australia sincerely believes that we can find ways to prevent and cure MS, which has shaped their vision; a world without MS. To attract donations, we needed people to have empathy for people living with the disease. We needed them to better understand its impact. The problem – the symptoms of MS are nearly impossible to describe or see. They can be variable and unpredictable. No two people will experience the same symptoms.
How can you make people understand what it’s like to have MS, when the symptoms are nearly impossible to describe or see?
To enable people to understand the symptoms of MS, we had to allow them to experience it.
Working with Paralympians, neurologists, physiotherapists, bike mechanics and people living with MS, we created a bike that would mimic the symptoms of MS – gears removed to mimic spascity, ball bearings inside the handlebars to create pins and needles, a heavy frame and wheels that were buckled to offset balance. These modifications forced the rider to constantly fight to ride, creating enormous fatigue.
We recruited five-time Olympic cyclist Shane Kelly to ride ‘The MS Bike’ in a charity event to shine a light on the impact of the disease. This generated a large amount of PR, and shone a light on how hard the bike was to ride, with Shane not being able to finish the race.
By hiding the debilitating symptoms of MS in a bike, we turned ‘just another’ education and fundraising campaign for a disease that only affects 0.1% of the population into something which started a new conversation around the world.
The MS Bike reached over 32 million people, generated over $7M in earned media across 30+ countries. Over $1M was raised for treatment and major health brands – Biogen, Roche, Merck, Mylan, Genentech – used the bike for education and training.
- Cannes Lions – Silver Health & Wellness
- Cannes Lions – Bronze Pharma
- Cannes Lions – Bronze Media
- Cannes Lions – Bronze PR
- Spikes – Gold & 3 Silver
- WARC Awards – Gold Content Strategy
- WARC Awards – Prize for Low Budget
- APAC Effies – Silver Sponsorship & Event Marketing
- APAC Effies – Bronze Healthcare
- APAC Effies – Bronze Brand Experience – Services
- APAC Effies – Bronze Branded Content
- Australian Effies – Bronze Most Original Thinking