The Alzheimer Society of Canada is hoping to change the conversation around dementia with #StillHere, a national awareness campaign that gives a voice to people living with the disease.
The effort, developed by Toronto-based shop Brees Communications, was timed to coincide with Alzheimer Awareness Month, and includes print, social, digital, and a 30-second online video. The spot features a woman with Alzheimer’s who reveals herself to the viewer from behind a curtain, and reminds people that, despite her disease, she’s “still here.” The video ends with the tagline, “Be there. For those who are #StillHere.”
According to Liz Falconer, president and CEO of Brees Communications, the campaign is meant to squash stigmas surrounding Alzheimer’s, and challenge negative attitudes about people living with dementia. Most importantly, she said, the effort encourages Canadians to actually see the person behind the illness.
“This is all about giving the people living with the disease a voice,” Falconer said. “It’s a rallying cry. When you have a hashtag as a headline for your campaign, there’s an implied invitation to share and the rallying cry that this campaign seems to be bringing [is] a call for a national strategy on Alzheimer’s and dementia. Its’ really doing some heavy lifting both politically, socially and emotionally.”
Since launching on Jan 5th, the effort has been featured on national and local media across Canada, and has also been covered by media outlets in the U.S. and U.K.
“Still Here is giving the nation a platform to share all their personal stories about Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Falconer added. “I think that’s probably what’s at the crux of its success. It’s bringing out people’s stories because it’s honest, it’s authentic…and for those that we love that have this disease, this is how we advocate for them.”
According to the Alzheimer Society, more than 740,000 Canadians are living with dementia and that number is poised to double in 20 years.
#StillHere will run until the end of January. The media buy and PR were handled in-house.