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Making a difference

Challenging Shire's traditional approach to exhibition stands at congresses

Published: 01 Nov 2012

One red apple in a line of green apples

Client: Shire

Agency: Resolute Communications

Campaign: Making a Difference

Timescale: June 2010

A quick look

Shire aspires to be as brave as the people it helps, which in practice means having the courage to break the mould and do things differently. In 2010, the FOSRENOL marketing team commenced the Making a Difference campaign, which challenged Shire’s traditional approach to exhibition stands at medical congresses and brought to life the concept of being brave. Making a Difference was not only well received by delegates and renal associations alike, but more importantly, it enabled Shire to demonstrate that it is possible to utilise available resources in different ways to help support organisations dedicated to improving patients’ lives.


Each year, the design and construction of congress exhibition stands consume significant company resource in terms of time, money and materials. Shire asked itself whether there was a different way to use this investment to better serve its customers, the broader renal community and to ensure it acts with a social conscience and minimal waste.


Working with Resolute, Shire completely revised its approach to exhibiting at the 2010 European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) Congress.

While continuing to support the ERA-EDTA by hiring an exhibition space, the area itself was kept simple with no traditional structure. This allowed Shire to make funds available to support three renal associations that encourage improved service delivery and patient care: the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) nd the Fabry International Network (FIN).

Delegates attending the congress were invited to ‘build’ symbolically the Shire stand using coloured bricks received in their congress bags. Each brick represented a portion of the funds that Shire would redirect to the three chosen organisations.

Following the congress, furniture from the stand and the coloured bricks were donated to a local German charity, SOS Children’s Village, which is dedicated to improving underprivileged children’s lives. Shire also respected the environment by offsetting its carbon footprint and using recycled supplies for all materials on the stand: pens, coffee cups, napkins and printed materials.


The bold idea won over congress attendees, with 94 per cent of delegates rating Shire’s decision to ‘redirect its funds to renal organisations’ as excellent.

Luca Segantini, Executive Director of the ISN, commented: “The ISN was delighted to be involved in the Making a Difference initiative from Shire and to witness its success among participants at the ERA-EDTA congress. With this initiative, Shire truly demonstrated its commitment to advancing nephrology in a pioneering new way and to directly benefit worthwhile causes. We hope this approach will be rapidly adopted by other companies and are encouraging members to consider it in their plans for the upcoming World Congress of Nephrology in 2011.”

Client verdict

“I am proud to say the Making a Difference campaign was a resounding success for Shire. Seeing the campaign come to life, through collaboration with colleagues, our agency Resolute and other partners has been a rewarding experience and one that I believe has truly added value to some worthy organisations.”

Shirley Wakelin, Former General Manager, FOSRENOL, Shire

From: Marketing



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