sma alert

If you haven’t heard of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, you’re not alone. This little-known neuromuscular disease is the top inherited killer of children less than two years old, according to a PSA from DMW Worldwide.

To help spread the word about this deadly disease, the Wayne, Pa.-based agency created two TV spots for Andrew’s Buddies, a national nonprofit that supports SMA research, and its “Fight” program.

“Speak Out” focuses on an SMA-stricken baby named Allie. Shots of her in a hospital bed, wearing a breathing apparatus, alternate with shots of her parents discussing their grief and snippets of home movies.

“We thought everything was right,” Allie’s father says. “A boy and a girl—it’s what we dreamed of.”

In the end, the voice over notes that Allie did not survive SMA.

“[The spot] really brings you right into how the disease directly affects the family,” said Ellen Guest, associate creative director at the shop. “It gives a sense of immediacy that you can’t save this child, but others can be saved.”

“Thief” takes a different tack, providing facts about SMA via screen copy and a voice over.

The work broke recently in more than a dozen markets, including Denver, Philadelphia and Seattle.