At Work: Communications - Medium and message

Indira Das-Gupta

As part of an awareness campaign, the Parkinson's Disease Society has put together its first television advert.

The Parkinson's Disease Society launched the first television advert in its 37-year history last month. It is part of a wider campaign to increase public awareness of the charity and push out its support services.

The advert depicts an older man who is accused of not listening to his wife because he has to think about every action he takes, down to simply moving his foot. It aims to show how Parkinson's can transform everyday chores into mammoth tasks, requiring a great deal of effort from the person with the disease and lots of understanding from those around them.

Helen Garner, head of public relations at the charity, says: "We have been going through a lot of change in recent years and are becoming more externally focused. We have got 65,000 members and supporters, but we believe there are about seven million people in this country who have been affected by Parkinson's, including friends and family. We want these people to feel that we are there for them and that they are not alone."

Advertising agency Grey London worked on the project for free and the charity has also been given free air time to show the advert on five, MTV and Nickelodeon.

"We could only afford to make the ad in this way," says Garner. "We really want to get under people's skin so that the name of the charity lodges in people's memories in case they ever need to contact us."

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