Psoriasis is a painful, sometimes embarrassing and often misunderstood skin condition that affects 125 million people worldwide. Reports show that 50 percent of people show discriminatory behavior to those with psoriasis, often mistakenly thinking that it is contagious or caused by poor hygiene.

The Dutch Association for Dermatology and Venereology (NVDV) wanted to change this and instead create an understanding of the condition and empathy for its sufferers. NVDV asked us to create a campaign that would raise awareness of psoriasis amongst the general public, highlight the social impacts of living with the condition, help counter common misconceptions, and break taboos to get people talking.

The beauty industry spends billions of dollars every year on ‘improving’ people’s looks, including their skin. We highjacked the high-end beauty aesthetic to create a surprising and news-worthy campaign, designed to improve the public’s empathy instead, of their looks…

We created ‘Experiasis’: a beautifully packaged, custom-made ‘beauty brand’ with a twist, to launch across all channels on World Psoriasis Day. When applied to the skin, the latex-based, colored make-up solution imitated the color and feel of psoriasis on the skin, giving people a vivid, first-hand experience of living with the condition.

STRATEGY AND EXECUTION

First, we collaborated with dermatologists, make-up artists and patients to design a cream which would realistically mirror psoriasis symptoms and had our designers create a luxury look ‘brand’ for the cream, to ramp up the element of surprise. The beautifully packaged, custom-made latex-based make-up solution was ready to ‘launch’ across all channels on World Psoriasis Day.

Then, we took to the streets. Key influencers tried out the cream and went into the city, while we captured their experiences and reactions from the public. An online film of their experiences was created to help share the message and was pushed further with dramatic footage of them ‘peeling off’ the product to reveal their healthy skin underneath. The influencers were charged with creating authentic content about their social experience of psoriasis on launch day and in the weeks after, to educate their followers further.

To create mass awareness and earn media attention, we designed an ambitious integrated campaign around the Experiasis cream. The campaign included live experiential content (detailed above), online films, social sharing and a press and influencer event at The Amsterdam Tower.

A campaign film voiced by sufferer Naomi Ruesen, dermatologist Karlijn Mulder and special effects artist Yascha Puts was also released, sharing key facts about the condition to counter the misconceptions.

Our events, media and influencer relations expertise were used to reach our target audience and hit the mainstream, next to specialist or healthcare media and influencers.

OUTCOME

‘Psoriasis Awareness Day’ previously had very little awareness. This year, with the ‘launch’ of our fake beauty product ‘Experiasis’ we were able to reach 3.5M+ people with our message, raising awareness of the disease and challenging misconceptions across The Netherlands.

  • Coverage across 13 national / lifestyle media publications, including interviews in one of the largest daily newspapers In the Netherlands, Parool, and major lifestyle title LINDA
  • 1.3 million impressions on social media, with engagement of Dutch Influencers above benchmark and 2,000 heart-warming engagements
  • Key influencer partnerships with Vet Gezellig’ and ‘Debbie Zwiers’ which attained a total reach of 53,000+ / engagement rate of 8.5%

Positive comments demonstrated a new wave of understanding of the condition and motivated people with psoriasis to reach out and tell their own stories

Social media reactions included:

"I'M WATCHING THIS WITH TEARS IN MY EYES."

"NO ONE IS PERFECT! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL THE WAY YOU ARE. THIS IS SIMPLY TOUCHING TO SEE."

"RESPECT FOR THE WAY YOU EXPOSE THIS. YOU HAVE BROKEN A TABOO."