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Case study: The World vs MS

The World vs MS focused on addressing the every day challenges of patients

Published: 13 Jan 2019

The world vs ms logo

Client: Sanofi Genzyme

Agency: H4B Manchester

Campaign: The World vs MS

Timescale: Ongoing

A quick look

The World vs MS is an ongoing, ambitious social movement that has united the world in the fight against multiple sclerosis (MS). It is a movement that set out to reveal and solve the challenges faced by the 2.5 million people living with this debilitating condition. Now, having activated the MS community, we’re tackling subjects often avoided in pharma, such as sex and family planning. In doing so, we’re supporting the MS community in having more in-depth and better-informed conversations. Ultimately, empowering them to demand more from their lives with MS.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable neurological condition affecting over 2.5 million people around the world. It causes a multitude of unpredictable symptoms that turn everyday tasks into everyday challenges. However, for all the online noise, most of the effort was focused on providing support rather than activation or empowerment. Little action was being taken to understand what it really means to live with MS or to actively encourage community members to find or share solutions to their daily challenges.

We wanted to be different and address these challenges through education and empowerment. We focused on the impact of MS on the brain and brain atrophy, and we challenged patients to have better conversations with their healthcare practitioners (HCPs).


In Year 1, we galvanised the MS community, taking a proactive stance to create meaningful, tangible outcomes. We worked in partnership with the real MS experts; the people who live with it every day, to create a social platform through which they could share their challenges. Working with Entrepreneurial Spark, WIRED and MS Ireland, we created targeted content that exposed these realities to improve broader understanding, generate empathy and inspire all those with a brain for problem-solving to turn their minds to MS and offer solutions to the challenges posed. One winning innovator was offered a development  grant and their idea, ‘BladdeRunner’, is well on its way to becoming a reality.

In Year 2, we identified areas of life people living with MS struggle to talk to their HCP about. We then worked with our steering committee of patients and neurologists across Europe to create a content calendar designed to tackle these key issues, and provide educational content to support the MS community in having more informed conversations.

Through the insights we gathered we created the brain emoji which is now being used around the world, helping people talk more openly about their brain health at the touch of a button. As the world’s first pharma-sponsored emoji, it reinforces Sanofi Genzyme’s commitment to driving innovation in healthcare communications.


We listened to our community, gained insight into their conversations, their openness and personalities, and demonstrated compassion and knowledge, to a point where our community is listening and looking to The World vs MS for continued support and information. Having given them the awareness of what ‘better’ could look like with MS, we’ve now instilled the belief that it’s achievable.

We’re continuing to educate around the subject of brain atrophy with the brain emoji, a creative solution which is redefining disease awareness and how we talk about brain health.

To date we’ve created an active and engaged network of over 40,000 people from over 41 countries, giving us 58% share of voice. We’ve generated over 25,000,000 impressions, 1,761,835 engagements, created over 3,600 pieces of content
and increased Sanofi Genzyme’s social following by 2000%.

And having asked for more from their life with MS, we’re now driving forward the creation of a life-changing MS innovation as chosen by the MS community – a solution which we could never have reached on our own.

Client verdict

“What I find most inspiring about the initiative is that we have been able to connect different people, not only in the online world, but also offline where we could really see that when bringing people together – people with MS, caregivers, neurologists, nurses, but also the innovators and the creative – you really see a movement. And the people involved are not only getting into a deeper dialogue about MS, but they are also trying to solve a problem, so change is happening.” Suzanna van Straaten, Commercial Director MS Europe, Sanofi Genzyme

“TWvsMS has engaged the global community into thinking about life from the point of view of someone with MS or any other condition that may result in someone facing similar issues. In doing this, we are helping to raise greater awareness and understanding of MS and, therefore, make life easier for people affected by the condition.” Trishna Bharadia, MS advocate; Ambassador for MS Society UK and Sue Ryder UK, Asian MS Committee Member

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