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Catching the Butterflies: Spotting the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders in Children

by Porter Novelli for Merck

Summary of work

Thyroid disorders are among the most frequent diseases in the world, with about 1.6 billion people at risk. Despite this, awareness is low. Up to 50% of those affected are thought to be unaware and suffering in silence. Merck challenged Porter Novelli to help raise awareness of thyroid disorders during International Thyroid Awareness Week in 2016, with a focus on infants and children to encourage testing among those displaying symptoms, while positioning Merck as a leader in the field of thyroid disorders.

We needed a creative campaign platform and simple execution that would resonate with parents and appeal to children globally. So we developed Hypo and Hyper - two illustrated butterflies inspired by the ‘butterfly’ shape of the thyroid gland - and brought to life in an emotive and universally understandable way by a leading children’s artist.

Using Hypo and Hyper we created an educational story that brought to life the symptoms and impact of thyroid disorder on children. Porter Novelli and Merck Global worked with Merck’s local affiliates to roll-out the campaign in 33 countries. It was supported by 20 third-party groups, reached over 20 million people and resulted in 14,500 children and adults being tested for thyroid disorders.

Judges’ comments

We really liked this nicely subtle way of educating using a mother and child, a really great campaign with clear objectives, and excellent outcomes versus the objectives. It took a creative approach, had great affiliate uptake and was both simple and creative.