If you have ever watched someone with Alzheimer’s disease gradually decline, you know how terrifying and heartbreaking it can be. The Alzheimer’s Association is devoted to finding a cure to this disease that robs people of their memories, their personalities and their imagination.
Few movies capture the power of imagination better than Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Not only is it based on a book by Roald Dahl, one of the most wildly imaginative children’s authors to ever put pen to page, it showcases actor Gene Wilder at his eccentric, brilliant best. Sadly, Wilder died in 2016 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2017, the Alzheimer’s Association released a 90-second PSA using the scene from Willy Wonka in which the children and their parents explore a magical candy garden where everything is edible. However, in this version, one by one the colorful confections disappear, including the tulip teacup Wilder bites into while singing the theme, “Pure Imagination.” An art card explains: “Alzheimer’s can steal your imagination piece by piece. But with your help, imagine how we can end it.” After this, all the magical flowers and plants reappear.
Why we love it
At Brogan & Partners, we pride ourselves on creating ads that emotionally engage with consumers. And this ad does it in spades. It uses a movie scene that nearly everyone remembers fondly from childhood, featuring a beloved actor. Watching Wilder perform the song is already poignant, if only for nostalgic reasons. But knowing that he would later decline and pass away from Alzheimer’s makes the video tug at the heartstrings that much more.
Wilder’s widow, Karen Wilder, endorsed the use of Wilder’s performance for the campaign. “When I saw this campaign,” she said, “I knew that it brilliantly and beautifully captured all that Alzheimer’s can take away.”
This is post #10 in our blog series, 17 wow-worthy social marketing campaigns.