W+K Portland Raises Awareness for Multiple Sclerosis

By Erik Oster 

W+K Portland launched an awareness campaign for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society which utilizes virtual reality to allow people living with multiple sclerosis to experience their passions in a new way.

Entitled “Together We Are Stronger,” the campaign launched with a pair of online spots featuring professional longboarder Robert “Wingnut” Weaver and professional dancer LaTonya Swann. In “Steve’s Ride,” a local surfer from Ocean Beach, California named Steve Bettis talks about what surfing means to him and how he’s coped with multiple sclerosis since his progressive multiple sclerosis diagnosis. A few years after receiving the diagnosis, the disease’s impact on his ability to ride and balance on a board meant he could no longer hit the waves; now his connection to surfing is largely through his hobby of repairing old boards. But Weaver took to the waves with a virtual reality camera and subsequently surprised Steve with a VR headset that allowed him to experience hitting the waves again. Another spot, “Exit Stage Never,” features Amy Meisner, a professional dancer and choreographer, who currently dances with her wheelchair but can’t move the same way she used to following her 1997 MS diagnosis. Swann dance on stage with a VR camera to provide Meisner with a new dance experience.

It’s a nice approach, focusing on the positive and the uplifting experiences VR technology can provide rather than focusing on the debilitating effects of the disease. Since people have a natural tendency to want to share such uplifting stories, the spots are likely to get passed around and the agency capitalizes on this further by inviting viewers to share their own experiences at WeAreStrongerThanMS.org. The digital and broadcast campaign is supported by print and OOH efforts. 

Creative Directors: Caio Lazzuri / Ashley Davis-Marshall
Copywriter: Ryan Niland
Art Director: Danielle Delph
Executive Producer: Patrick Marzullo
Art Producer: Grace Petrenka
Motion Designer: Daniel Moreno/McKay Marshal
Motion Producer: Sarah Gamazo


Production Company: Tool
Director: John X. Carey
Executive Producer: Lori Stonebraker/Josh Hamilton
Line Producer: Joshua Greenberg
Director of Photography: Hilary Spera and Chris Saul
Managing Partner- Live Action / Executive Producer: Oliver Fuselier
Managing Partner- Digital / Executive Producer: Dustin Callif

Editorial Company: Joint
Editor: Peter Wiedensmith / JB Jacobs
Post Producer: Catherine Liu / Nathanael Horton
Post Executive Producer: Leslie Carthy / Alex Thiesen

TV VFX Company: Mission Control
VR VFX Company: Luma Pictures

Telecine Company: Company 3
Telecine Artist: Sean Coleman
Telecine Producer: Matt Moran

Music+Sound Company: Joint
Sound Designer: Noah Woodburn
Producer: Sarah Fink


FORMAT Print + Digital Billboards

Photographer: Danielle Levitt
Re-toucher: Frazier Goodbody

CONTENT TYPE: Virtual Reality Experiences

Production Company: Tool
Director: John X. Carey
Executive Producer: Lori Stonebraker/Josh Hamilton
Line Producer: Joshua Greenberg
Director of Photography: Hilary Spera / Chris Saul

Editorial Company: Luma Pictures
Editor: Faraz Abbasi
Managing Director: Jay Lichtman
Producer: Louisa Cartwright
Digital Effects Supervisor: Justin Johnson
Technical Coordinator: Andrew Kalicki
Compositor: Garrett Wycoff
Post Executive Producer: Jay Lichtman

Music+Sound Company: Q Department