Cannes Lions



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It began when we saw the number of the Alzheimer’s sufferers in France - a terrible disease with an ever-increasing amount of victims. We looked into the reasons why so few seem to care and found that the core demographic making donations tended to be over 65 years old. Obviously, that’s very limiting in terms of fundraising.

Fondation Médéric Alzheimer felt it was a priority to alert the young generation to the disease, which gave rise to Snapzheimer, which hijacked a nascent social platform close to young people. Namely, Snapchat – the instant message app that sends photos and videos that disappear in seconds. This was the perfect way of simulating to the audience the first symptoms of Alzheimer: loss of short-term memory.

We targeted young people through an affinity database to send short videos on Snapchat. The videos leverage the kind of images that tend to be shared on Snapchat (selfies, Snapdraws, etc). As they disappear a message fades up which makes explicit that short term memory loss is the first symptom of Alzheimer. They were furthermore invited to partake in the online conversation using #Snapzheimer.

While the primary objective was to raise awareness among young people, we knew that this age group would not be able to donate much as older people in work. However, the raft of PR generated in traditional media went far beyond 13 to 25 year olds.

The result? 80,000 Snapchat recipients, 10,000 You Tube hits, 1000 tweets and heightened public awareness of the debate.


We used a mobile ‘affinity database’ of more than 80,000 Snapchat users between 13 and 25 years old.

We sent recipients a series of Quicktimes using the conventions of Snapchat, with a visual language familiar to young people: selfies, snapdraws. These light-hearted opening gambits faded away within seconds to reveal an unexpected twist: a serious message about Alzheimer’s.

A supplementary hashtag – #Snapzheimer – helped start the conversation on social networks.

Since we also wanted to reach a broader audience of non-Snapchat users, we created a microsite with infographics also explaining the effects of Alzheimer’s, plus shareable, interactive experience with Facebook Connect.

Concurrently, we made a press release to help engender as wide a diffusion of the campaign as possible. The mainstream press then picked up on the story following the deluge of online engagement on the various social media platforms.


With a modest budget of just 5000€, in excess of 80,000 people received a Snapzheimer message. The campaign lit up social networks with in excess of a 1000 Tweets, while over 10,000 hits were racked up on the accompanying You Tube promo video.

This led to coverage in Melty, France’s most popular online magazine for young people, plus appearances in the national press (including the daily paper Le Parisien) AND a network TV feature on the French Parliamentary Channel.

The dedicated microsite registered more than 40 000 viewed pages in only 2 weeks and an average time spent of more than 4 minutes.

While there is still work to be done, young people in France are more aware of Alzheimer’s Disease than ever before.

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