First-Ever Advertising Campaign to Increase Awareness of One of America’s Least Known and Most Misdiagnosed Diseases

1_Lungs 2_Heart

Publicis Dallas today launches ‘Birds’ the first-ever advertising campaign to increase awareness of Histoplasmosis, a disease where bird droppings lead to a
fungal infection that gets into the lungs, bloodstream and eyes. The obscure disease is one of America’s least known and most misdiagnosed. At the centerpiece of the awareness campaign is an arresting series of print ads, coupled with the first-ever website (www.histodisease.org), completely devoted to Histoplasmosis detection, treatment and support.

“A few years back, this disease nearly killed, Julia Melle, one of our most talented creative directors, “ said Shon Rathbone, Executive Creative Director, Publicis Dallas. “Her passion for raising awareness of Histoplasmosis inspired the entire team to build a campaign that was both creatively arresting, and truly worthy of the cause.”

Histoplasmosis affects thousands and kills over 800 people a year, yet awareness among the general public and most physicians is very low.

“There are very few moments in this business where you feel like you can put your talents to use for the good of others,” said Julia Melle, Group Creative Director, Publicis Dallas. “This is a moment, where my experience with this terrible disease that took half my right lung can be leveraged to educate patients and doctors everywhere.”

Creative Overview: The Publicis Dallas creative team realized the morphology of organs affected by Histoplasmosis resembles the place birds most love to congregate – tree branches. This led to a campaign approach that tells a very complex story with very few words. The overall mood of the advertising, with its hauntingly beautiful India ink and watercolor illustrations, is appropriately chilling for a disease this dangerous. The three print ads each feature a different organ-tree, (lungs, heart and eye), with the simple headline: Birds Infest More Than Trees. At the bottom of the ad is the organ-appropriate version of the copyline: Bird droppings can lead to a fungal infection that gets in the lungs and kills more than 800 people a year. Now you know more than most doctors.

Survivors of Histoplasmosis have formed a strong and active social media community, found on Facebook, and Twitter, among others. The campaign will use those organic social-driven channels to pass along the message beyond traditional paid media, and turn survivors into evangelists.



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