Art of finding

Novartis - disease awareness campaign


Creating awareness around a rare back disease

With this project, we want to raise awareness about axSpA among back pain patients and general practitioners and increase referral of suspicious patients to the rheumatologist. Let’s give patients the help and support they need to find answers and help change the trajectory of this disease.

Tom Ceck the artist in the process of creating artworks that can express the pain symptoms.

It’s probably nothing…

With the True-North method we decided that the most important thing about this campaign is that we want to be there when people experience their first back pain to prevent it from getting worse.

The people with ‘some form of back pain’ who ignore it for too long and think it’s probably nothing and don’t act on the signals when they should to avoid worse.

Observe the symptoms in time to prevent worse.

intro image


authentic stories

and highlighting

early signs

We introduced the concept of patients sharing their experiences with a visual artist, who would then transform their typical back pain stories into visual representations. Our objective was to infuse a unique and artistic perspective into the narrative, enhancing its engagement and relatability.

Ultimately, our goal was to convey that seemingly minor issues could evolve into serious conditions over time. By visualizing and narrating authentic back pain stories, we aimed to underscore the significance of recognizing and addressing initial signs.

We highlighted the importance of recognizing early signs of back pain through authentic storytelling and visuals.

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Authentic patient testimonials:

from words

to art

During creation and in collaboration with Novartis, we carefully selected an artist and four patients, each with their unique back pain stories. Our journey began with in-depth interviews, where the patients shared their personal narratives, igniting the artist's creative process. After several weeks, we invited the patients to the artist's studio, conducting additional interviews about their back pain experiences and unveiling the artist's interpretation of their stories. These patient stories made us acutely aware of the campaign's vital importance.

Art direction
Short documentary film production
Social media content

Social media campaign

Primary this campaign is focussed on potential patients, so mainly this is a social media campaign. And secondary it is aimed at general practitioners and practices with a poster and a leaflet directly linked to a landings page about the campaign.

Novartis SpArrow - Leaflet

Imagination at work

The path to diagnosing this disease is often lengthy, with patients undergoing numerous treatments, searching for diagnoses, and battling self-doubt in their pursuit of relief. Our objective with this project was to heighten awareness among back pain patients and general practitioners, with the ultimate aim of boosting referrals for suspected patients to rheumatologists.

This campaign serves as proof that the foundation for success invariably lies in authentic storytelling – in identifying the right stories and presenting them to the appropriate audience in a visually distinctive manner.  


"The client was very touched by the result; the campaign is seen as an example of how different a small campaign can be and at the same time effective. The paintings are now hanging at the Novartis office."

-  Norvell Jefferson