Client: Project We Forgot
Category: Nonprofits & Government
Agency: Mediavest, Spark
Country: United Arab Emirates
Award Entry Year: 2016
Today’s young generation does not understand Alzheimer’s, and they often dismiss it as just a normal part of old age. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), over 5,000 people suffer from Alzheimer’s, yet few know or even talk about it. There’s also an evident social stigma around the disease.
How can awareness be increased among this young demographic with zero budget, especially when this audience is apathetic and indifferent to such issues?
Project We Forgot is a community of support for caregivers to persons with Alzheimer’s and other related forms of dementia. To help young people understand Alzheimer’s, Project We Forgot created a campaign called #MemoriesMatter that relied on the disappearing nature of Snapchat to help them experience short-term memory loss – the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.
Imagine having your memory wiped clean. No recognition of faces, places or milestones in your life.
By 2020, there will be six times more Alzheimer’s sufferers in the UAE. The only way to beat the disease is to increase awareness among the UAE’s young population and get them to talk about it, which is what Project We Forgot sought to achieve.
Although, the UAE’s young population is unaware of Alzheimer’s and the dangers it represents, it is socially connected.
Preaching about Alzheimer’s through mass media marketing wouldn’t work with young people. Project We Forgot needed something personal and impactful. To help young people understand Alzheimer’s, Project We Forgot needed them to experience short-term memory loss – the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.
Research showed that Snapchat was very popular among UAE youth. Current data suggests that 12 percent of UAE smartphone users use Snapchat. The unique aspect of Snapchat is that it enables users to share messages that disappear in a few seconds. Project We Forgot decided to make use of the disappearing nature of Snapchat content to help people experience memory loss.
This was the first initiative in the UAE to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s.
On World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21, Project We Forgot launched the #MemoriesMatter campaign in partnership with Getty Images. Drawing parallels between memory loss and disappearing images, the team created three Snapchats featuring memories in the form of nostalgic family photos that disappeared in a few seconds. The photos were then followed by the message, “Alzheimer’s Erases Your Memories, Let’s Erase Alzheimer’s.”
The three Snapchat stories were sent to 9,200 Snapchat users, leveraging the ephemeral nature of the messaging app and drawing parallels between memory loss and disappearing images. Instagram was used to amplify the Snapchat conversations.
The campaign became a hot topic. Snapchat influencers like radio DJs and film personalities helped spread the message. Media partners like Good Health Arabia, Khaleej Times and Sky News Arabia joined in to spark a nationwide conversation about Alzheimer’s.
Below are the results of the campaign: