Cannes Lions


INITIATIVE, New York / MERCK / 2015

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America is facing an epidemic. 9% of the population suffers from Type II Diabetes, making it one of the most common chronic ailments in the country. Diabetes is a significant concern in the African-American community, as 13% of all African-American adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death in the African-American community. African Americans are more likely to experience serious long-term health problems over time from the disease. To address this, Merck aimed to educate African American patients about Januvia, the #1 branded Type II Diabetes pill.

Merck found that a majority African Americans look to their Church for medical guidance. To spread awareness of the disease, Merck created a promotional partnership with African Methodist Episcopal and Health Monitor Magazine to educate sufferers to have a conversation with their physicians. To do so, they brought Januvia from the doctor’s office and into the, church.


Merck partnered with Health Monitor Magazine and African Methodist Episcopal church to develop a co-branded print guide targeting sufferers, family members and caretakers. To further develop trust with the audience, each pamphlet included a letter from the District Bishop and Medical Director detailing the mission of the program.

In the age of “digital algorithmic placement,” Merck applied human insight, creating a targeted, contextual, custom and effective print campaign that drove awareness and online conversion.


The guide was distributed among parishioners nationwide, leading to 500,000 copies issued to over 750 churches over six months. The distribution led to 2.5 million African American impressions and drove an 8% increase in “Januvia” branded search queries. All of which demonstrated the impact of partnering print and the church community to address the US Diabetes crisis. Additionally, Januvia experienced a 2:1 return on ad investment.

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2023, MERCK

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