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Case study: Ask for Clear

Giving psoriasis sufferers motivation to go back to their dermatologist

Published: 13 Jan 2019

Ask for clear image

Client: Novartis UK

Agency: Havas Lynx Group

Campaign: Ask for Clear

Timescale: N/A

A quick look

Good news for people with psoriasis: clear skin is now possible. To spread the word, we created a campaign that captured the joy of achieving clear skin, featuring a dancing man on a beach and a karaoke shower singer.


Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease that affects 2.8% of the UK population and 125 million people worldwide. The condition appears as patches of itchy red skin that can cover the entire body. Not only is it physically debilitating, but the visible nature of it can be humiliating for sufferers too. As such, most people with psoriasis only want one thing: clear skin.

The good news: thanks to advances in dermatology, this is now possible. The bad news is, after years of setbacks and failed treatments, over half of people with psoriasis don’t believe it’s achievable. Our job was to give them the motivation to go back to their dermatologist again.


A 9,000-strong patient survey revealed there’s a huge range of things people would do if they got clear skin. Shopping, sunbathing, streaking.

One patient said they’d wear skin-tight pyjamas. Because why not? That’s what we wanted to showcase in our campaign: the joy of clear skin, in all its forms.

Teaming up with director Nils Gerbens, a comedy specialist, we created a TV ad showing a moment of pure joy. We wanted the ad to feel unscripted, capturing a real sense of abandonment. We set it on the beach – a place most people with psoriasis actively avoid, but really want to be. The ad was simple: it featured a man, in his speedo, dancing. Just because he could.

This dancing man then became the star of the print campaign, which appeared in national newspapers and on the tube. This was backed by online display ads and social media coverage. His speedo got around.

We also created a series of radio ads that gave a first-hand account of people enjoying their clear skin, from a board member dressing down to a man busting out a power ballad in the gym showers.


The campaign received an incredibly positive reception from the psoriasis community and inspired many to go back to their dermatologist. You’ll see them next year, at the beach.

  • The campaign generated over half a million site visitors
  • Over 60,000 DLQI questionnaires have been started online – the key metric for activating patients
  • The TV ad produced a 20% conversion rate in getting people to take the first step in visiting their doctor
  • 46% of people with psoriasis in the UK were reached by the campaign.

Client verdict

“Ask for Clear sits at the top of the tree because it captures a real drive to celebrate life. It draws you in because there is genuine humanity in it. Pharma has probably been a bit late in understanding the power of this message, but this campaign’s creativity captures the feeling perfectly.” Judges’ comments

“I can’t believe my eyes. I saw my first ever TV ad for psoriasis. Finally it is coming out of the closet!” Jacquelien, Flaym Psoriasis forum

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