Channel 4

Versus Arthritis on Gogglebox

10 million people in the UK alone suffer from arthritis. Versus Arthritis is a new charity, and we got our Goggleboxers involved to give their first ever campaign some real heart.

The Big Idea

Not enough people care about Arthritis. Not enough people talk about Arthritis. If people talk more they care more. And they need to care, because Arthritis has a massive impact on the UK, not only in the pain and suffering of the ten million people who have the condition, but also on their families, on the health service and on the UK economy.

Arthritis is routinely ignored, belittled and dismissed and Versus Arthritis, a new organisation born of the merger of two arthritis charities, were no longer prepared to passively accept this. The time had come to agitate for a real change in the public’s perception of this insidious disease, to rally support and to wake the audience up to the true impact of the condition. Time had come to defy Arthritis.

This partnership gave people with arthritis a reason and permission to talk about their arthritis in a way that we could not have achieved with any other partnership.” – Philippa Williams, Director of Communications and Marketing, Versus Arthritis

Making it Happen

M&C Saatchi had created an ad with raw emotional power and Blue 449, SPP and Channel 4 came together to make sure that this ad would create a national conversation. We wanted the public to talk about it. What better way to start a conversation than by hosting one?

Gogglebox wasn’t an obvious choice, it’s known for its humour and this was a serious subject. What we at Channel 4 know, though, was that what really underpins the audience’s love of Gogglebox is their emotional connection with the families. The fact that they are real people, with real lives, just like them - a microcosm of society at large.

Using our creative arm PL4Y, the idea was to have the Gogglebox families review the Versus Arthritis Ad and talk about what it meant to them, how it affected their understanding of Arthritis and in so doing to kick-start a national conversation.

There were many hurdles to overcome in achieving this. Studio Lambert (Gogglebox’s producers) took a chance on an idea that was outside their comfort zone. The client took a chance on trusting that the families would react in a way that was authentic and moving. M&C took a chance on allowing their ad to be open to scrutiny. The Gogglebox families took a chance in showing a more serious and emotional side.

All of these chances paid off with hugely insightful and moving pieces of content, run in the ad break of the show itself (with an announcement by narrator Craig Cash) and across digital and social, that showed how the Gogglebox families reacted to the truths of arthritis.

It was emotional. Jenny, one of the most loved Goggleboxers, who herself has arthritis, broke down in tears, vividly demonstrating the impact of the condition. The content drew extensive media attention, particularly with Jenny’s reaction, and the integration was such that many commentators simply thought it was a part of the show.

63% of the VA audience were more empathetic toward people with the condition
Site traffic rose 105% in launch week

The Results

Awareness rose by +60% with a C4 audience.

63% of the VA audience were more empathetic toward people with the condition.

30% of the VA audience had a conversation as a result of the campaign.

Site traffic rose 105% in launch week

Paid search impressions increased by 287%

44,000 people publicly declared themselves Versus Arthritis