Bronze Spike

Case Film

Presentation Board

Product / ServiceEND ALS
CategoryB01. Education & Awareness
Advertising Agency 2 McCANN ERICKSON JAPAN Tokyo, JAPAN


Name Company Position
Seiji Shiramizu McCann Erickson Japan Creative Director/Planner
Masahiro (Hiro) Fujita McCann Erickson Japan Planning Director/PR
Miyoko Ohki McCann Erickson Japan PR Director
Hiroki Fujita McCann Erickson Japan Account Management Director
Isamu Nakamura McCann Erickson Japan Copywriter
Takamasa Hirai McCann Erickson Japan Interactive Creative Director
Youngjin Kong McCann Erickson Japan Account Manager
Taro Motoda McCann Erickson Japan Art Director
Kensaku Kakimoto Office SAKU Movie Director
Satomi Inagaki Office SAKU Assistant Director
Shoji Uchida Shoji Uchida Photo Office Director Of Photography
Shiro Chiba / Yuji Okabe Freelance Chief Cinematographer
Shun Kawakami Artless  Web Art/Designer
Koki Takahashi Artless  Web Art/Designer
Mihiro Matsukawa Mihiro Design Web Designer
Hideyuki Kodama Utix Inc. Front/End Developer
Motoi Ito / Yuki Hirokawa Adhoc Inc. Fixer
Adam Weiss McCann Health Communications Advisor
John Woodward Craftworldwide Editor
Chiharu Ozaki McCann Erickson Japan Coordinator
AOI Pro. Production Company
Tomomitsu Sasa AOI Pro. Production Producer
Mana Hashimoto AOI Pro. Assistat Producer
Tsuyoshi Takakusagi / Tadakatsu Isobe Hairstyle Makeup Artist
Eiichi Nishine McCann Health Communications Advisor

The Campaign

ALS has very low awareness in Japan. When one of our agency’s brightest young stars, Hiro was given this death sentence, he decided that rather than accept fate he would fight the disease, fight the Japanese cultural “virtue” of suffering in silence and fight to live. Hiro began to speak out and create a movement to END ALS, against all odds. END ALS program has three objectives: 1. RAISE AWARENESS: Break the silence of ALS patients to build mass awareness. 2. RAISE FUNDS: by creating a social movement/demand for clinical research. 3. PRESSURE GOVERNMENT AND MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS: to hurry a cure. Using Hiro’s raw words describing his difficult journey through a celebrity blog platform, gathering the support of major influencers and mass media, the campaign has driven awareness with zero media or partnership investment. $11MM worth of generic PR to date. His book became Amazon’s bestseller in the fighting disease category. Japan’s BBC is broadcasting a 30 minute documentary series of Hiro’s story. Another created a prime-time drama series about an ALS patient, using Hiro’s book as a reference, reaching 13MM people weekly. (excluded from earned media value) All contributing to medical research and government policy change towards a cure.

The Brief

Our goal was three fold: 1. RAISE AWARENESS: Break the silence of ALS patients to build mass awareness. 2. RAISE FUNDS: by creating a social movement/demand for clinical research. 3. PRESSURE GOVERNMENT AND MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS: to hurry a cure. We need ALS to become topic of conversation in society. While our target was the Japanese general public, we especially were conscious of young adults who are highly motivated to participate in social causes, medical professionals and government officials as the ultimate drivers of change.

Creative Execution

Seeding: Hiro personally became a featured blogger at honeyee.com, a celebrity blog platform in early 2012. Through this, various musicians, designers, athletes, etc., empathized and publicly announced their support for Hiro. The END ALS Foundation was established and started sales of original merchandise designed by Bathing Ape’s logo designer to raise funds in 2013. Launch: We launched a film series with pop culture influencers on YouTube voicing Hiro’s words/blog. Youth speeches, seminars for professionals, continuous interviews were held. END ALS walks & runs were organized in Tokyo, NY and Honolulu. Amplification: Influencer engagement gradually drew general media’s attention, which then forced medical, government officials to get involved as well. The release of his book, “99% Thank You” also helped amplify. A number of TV documentaries about Hiro were made. Events, interviews and public speaking continued, including TEDxTokyo 2014.

END ALS raised $11MM worth of generic PR, without any paid media or partnerships. Hiro’s book, "99% Thank You,” became Amazon’s bestseller in “Fighting Disease” Category. Various national TV stations created documentary series on Hiro and END ALS. One even created a TV drama series about a young man with ALS, using Hiro’s book as a reference, which had a weekly reach of 13MM people. (excluded from raised PR value) Donation made to the Center for iPS cell Research and Application, run by Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka to support the discovery of a cure. Hiro then submitted a proposal for policy change in person, to Norihisa Tamura, Minister of Health Labor and Wellness to provide comfort to patients through technology like the eye tracking system. Now, an increasing number of people at large are becoming more educated and speaking about the disease, including media, medical and government officials.

Mobilize influencers (actors, musicians designers, etc) to speak for Hiro and break the silence by intentionally choosing direct and raw language to disrupt and attract mass attention. Amplify the power of influencers through partnership with mainstream media, while building a strong supporter-base through Hiro’s blog and events. IDEA: “99% Thank You. 1% Fuck You.” Under this concept, we tell a story of Hiro as an ALS patient, with an extremely honest, sometimes provocative voice. The hidden story of the 1% discloses Hiro’s anger and frustration, fear and humiliation, pain and sorrows of ALS and the current situation that surrounds its patients in Japan. This is a rallying cry for people to keep pressure on stakeholders, medical and government, to listen and take action to END ALS. For ALS to become topic of conversation, we dared to communicate the ugly truth to move society.