Those who suffer from the autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis (MG) often experience a fragmented journey through their illness because available resources on the disease don’t offer insights beyond clinical information. So to provide an online destination where people with MG can connect with others and access information without feeling defined by their diagnosis, pharmaceutical firm Argenx developed a web-based platform dubbed MG United. Celebrating the launch of the site, and marking Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month, the brand on June 1 hosted a two-hour virtual event that was blended with real-world elements, all designed to promote advocacy for the MG community.
The virtual launch event kicked off with an opening address and the unveiling of the MG United platform. Then it was on to interactive content, including a component called My MG Sole in which an art therapist painted a pair of shoes while attendees intermittently viewed his progress throughout the two-hour event. The initiative derived from the concepts of walking in someone else’s shoes and individuality. There was also a virtual art gallery featuring projects completed by members of the MG community, and a collection of MG patient stories woven together into a short video that was shared on digital and social. A real-time word cloud gave attendees a chance to submit their reactions to the virtual event and watch the cloud transform as more responses were added.
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“We realized that the current environment of uncertainty and social distancing further perpetuates the anxiety, the isolation and the fear that this community has,” says Katrina Sergeev Gary, director-U.S. patient marketing MG at Argenx. “And it’s important to have an outlet, focusing on things that you can control, and then also to feel connected to the community.”
The virtual launch also featured an announcement about an upcoming documentary on MG and its effect on patients and their caregivers, along with a Q&A with the film’s director, Ben Strang, and producers Caryn Capotosto and Karen Carter. Rounding out the programming, Argenx highlighted stories of regional support group leaders and the importance of the patient-healthcare provider relationship.
As a finale to the virtual event, and in honor of Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month, Argenx lit up the country in MG’s signature teal color, illuminating the Zakim Memorial Bridge in Boston, the Lowery Bridge in Minneapolis and the Pacific Wheel on the Santa Monica Boardwalk in California, an initiative that is “near and dear” to the hearts of the MG community, according to the brand.
“We have to make lemonade out of lemons right now. And of course, it’s very difficult to replace in-person interaction and building those personal relationships,” says Sergeev Gary. “But I think it’s just about spending time and listening. So connecting with the community, listening to their stories and working with them to create these initiatives. And not just talking the talk, but walking the walk alongside them, has proven very effective.” Agency: Inspira Marketing Group, Norwalk, CT.