Cannes Lions

The MSunderstood Café



1 Bronze Cannes Lions
1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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The symptoms of MS can often be ‘invisible’ to others. This can be extremely frustrating and exhausting for those affected. To show the impact that access delays to treatment can have on patients, and spur them into action, an impactful idea was required.

An empty shop on a busy street in Dublin was transformed into The MSunderstood Café and all materials, furniture and visuals were distorted so that customers’ sensation of touch and their vision were affected, mimicking symptoms of MS. Customers visiting the Café had no idea that they were part of an experiment. Actors staffed the Café and made sure each customer experienced the various interactions, and their reactions were captured on hidden cameras.



• Research results shaped the messaging in the communications materials

• Focus group was held with people with MS to ensure the Café interactions were true to life

• This feedback guided the creation of the Café furnishings and materials

• Politicians, Government representatives, policy and healthcare stakeholders, media and influencers were invited to visit the Café

• Shopfront signage highlighted coffee cost €1 all day, with all proceeds for charity

• Footage of customers’ reactions was edited into a short video, showcasing the challenging environment encountered

• Press materials issued to media with campaign key messages and call to action

• Patient case study interviews gave personal perspective

• Social media strategy amplified reach and engagement


01.11.17 to 20.04.18


Over 2,000 people visited the pop-up Café and the campaign had a reach of over 13 million, in a country of 2 million adults.


Media Outputs

• On launch day Ireland’s largest national daily newspaper led with a political-focused headline: ‘Health Minister under pressure to give green light to allow MS sufferers access to promising drug’

• Widespread coverage was secured across national and regional print, broadcast and online media, covering the key messages and call to action

• Patient case study interviews were secured and ensured a personal perspective on living with MS was incorporated into media coverage

• The MSunderstood Café video was viewed and shared via, MS Ireland’s social platforms, media and social outlets

• The campaign had a reach of over 13 million, through traditional and social media, in a country of 2 million adults

Target Audience Outcomes

• Visitors to contacted their local politicians which led to 12 parliamentary questions about improving access to MS treatment in one month

• Two Ministers have formally written to the Minister for Health requesting a change in the flawed market access system, based on requests from their constituents

• Commitments from all politicians who visited the Café from various political parties

• Minister for Health agreed to meet with MS Ireland to discuss access

Consumer awareness

• Feedback from customers confirmed it resonated strongly and understanding of MS increased

• Social media conversations reflected the need for change and the positive reaction from People with MS and all those who visited the Café

• Successfully announced Roche as a leader in neurology in Ireland and its commitment to supporting patients