Tuesday, March 06, 2007

National Multiple Sclerosis Society Launches A New Movement By And For People With MS

Exciting New Research, Service Programs, and People Living With MS Fuel the Movement

What Color is MS - Think Orange!

New York, March 5, 2007 – The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is launching a nationwide initiative to rally people across the country to “Join the Movement” to end multiple sclerosis, the number one neurological disease leading to disability in young adults.

In an effort to help make MS more relevant to busy people in a busy world, over the past year, the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy New York, whose corporate clients include Nike, Coca Cola and Starbucks, has worked pro bono with the MS Society to develop a campaign to totally transform the way MS and the National MS Society is viewed right down to the very color that has been associated with the disease for the past 60 years. The ground-breaking initiative introduces a new way of talking about MS that focuses on the universal elements of what it means to live with this chronic and unpredictable disease. The agency donated over $1 million in time and creative talent.

Join the Movement

Beginning with MS Awareness Week, March 5 -11, the “Join the Movement” initiative will launch across the country. This multi-channel integrated campaign will appear on TV, radio, print, and out of home properties across the country. All creative elements feature real people living with MS.

“The National MS Society is fueled by people united by a common goal – to address the challenges of each person whose life is affected by MS,” says Joyce Nelson, president and CEO of the National MS Society.

To ignite this movement and create a better understanding of MS with a busy public, Wieden+Kennedy and the MS Society focus on the universal truth that movement is inherent to all of our lives. It defines and expresses who we are. But it comes with no guarantees. This concept shapes the new core message about the disease and purpose of the Society: MS stops people from moving. We exist to make sure it doesn't.

Every hour someone is newly diagnosed with MS. “We are committed to building a movement by and for people with MS that will move us closer to a world free of multiple sclerosis,” adds Nelson. “We want to inspire and encourage people to take action to Join the movement to end MS .”

What color is MS?

When you think breast cancer, it's pink; heart disease or AIDS you think red; and testicular cancer you think yellow; but how do you create a public identity for a disease whose symptoms mysteriously come and go and range from numbness and tingling to complete paralysis. Well, now when you think multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society, who address the challenges of each person whose life is affected by MS, you will see Orange!

How the Public can Join the Movement

To support the launch of the Society's new initiative, people everywhere are encouraged to visit jointhemovement.org – a special website developed by the National MS Society to unite and inspire people to take action to end MS. Through volunteering, participating in a MS Walk or MS Bike Ride, donating, and more, people can get involved. The site also features interactive technology that allows all visitors to “make their mark” to end MS – this mark supports the Society's new logo and makes the statement that we are all committed to creating a world free of MS.

MS Changes Lives Forever

Real people with MS moving forward with their lives both join in and tell the story of the Join the Movement campaign. They include a pediatrician who when diagnosed with MS became a neurologist so she could treat fellow MS patients, a former soldier who when forced to retire from the military established what has become one of the fast growing consultant businesses in Oregon and a former TV reporter who is now a mom and the founder of a new radio program for other moms with MS.

The National MS Society is moving research forward by devoting $46 million to funding over 380 research projects around the world including the largest MS collaborative project – nearly $16 million – to repair and protect the central nervous system and a $4 .6 million research grant looking at using sex hormones as a treatment for MS. The Society is also spending over $125 million to provide services to over one million people each year and is introducing this month a special new program “Relationship Matters” to help individuals and their partners minimize the impact of MS on their lives .

See the Movement PSAs and the Join the Movement video

A Campaign That Moves With You, Wherever You Go

The “Join the Movement” campaign has also inspired a wide variety of support from the corporate world from Clear Channel Communications, to Microsoft, to Westfield Shopping Centres to Developers Diversified, to United Airlines to CNN to Telemundo, to WebMD and Wiley Publishing who is releasing an MS For Dummies . Donated time, space and creative services from corporate partners are already approaching $5 million.

The new integrated campaign will appear on a variety of multi-channel outlets. “Essentially, wherever you are and however you experience movement, our new campaign will be there, moving with you towards a world free of MS,” Nelson commented.

Multi-media distribution – PSAs will air on Clear Channel radio and TV, CNN – both cable and airport networks, Lifetime TV, Telemundo, CBS and WOR Radio networks, ads will appear in Sports Illustrated, People, New England Journal of Medicine, and more. WedMD is supporting the Society across its network, which includes web banner and PSA placement and additional hosting of MS video programming. Print and broadcast PSAs in English and Spanish will also be distributed by the Society to over 1,200 TV stations, 3,000 radio stations and 6,000 print outlets.

Online and viral – Microsoft is supporting the campaign through a new “i'm” initiative: every time you have an IM conversation using Windows Live™ Messenger, Microsoft will donate a portion of its advertising revenue to National MS Society; banner ads will appear on several highly trafficked sites including WebMD's MS Health Center, About.com, Mensfitness.com, Oxygen.com, and Clear Channel stations.

Direct to consumer – A special mailing to 1 million people with connections to MS will be distributed with support of the Society's pharmaceutical partners to introduce the new brand and encourage action by joining the movement.

Outdoor and Shopping malls – Westfield Shopping Centres, with more than 60 properties in the US, and Developers Diversified, with more than 20 properties, will be placing signage throughout their locations for all of March. Clear Channel will be placing Movement PSAs in select outdoor locations starting in the Spring.

Flying high – During the month of April United Airlines will air the Society's PSA in its in-flight TV programming, to an estimated audience of between two and four million.

National MS Society Chapter Activities
From coast to coast, the Society's 50-state network of chapters are introducing their own special events to support MS Awareness Week and launch of the “Join the Movement” initiative. They include billboards, banners and displays across their states, go “orange” days, state capitol advocacy days, school programs, health fairs, and alliances with local business and cultural institutions. To find out what is happening in your area, contact your local Society office at 1-800 344-4867.

About Wieden+Kennedy New York
Based in Manhattan, Wieden + Kennedy New York is a full-service advertising agency with a staff of 125. Wieden + Kennedy New York has produced groundbreaking work for clients including ESPN, Nike NYC, Jordan Brand, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, ONE.org, the ABC Television Network and Sharp. Globally, Wieden + Kennedy is a privately held agency with over $1,028MM in billings and offices in Portland, New York, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo and Shanghai. Clients include Coca-Cola/Powerade, Honda, Miller, Nike and Starbucks.

About Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications, Inc. (NYSE:CCU) is a global media and entertainment company specializing in "gone from home" entertainment and information services for local communities and premiere opportunities for advertisers. Based in San Antonio , Texas , the company's businesses include radio, television and outdoor displays. More information is available at www.clearchannel.com