The gluten-free fad has diluted how people see the problem of celiac disease – unless those people are coeliac disease sufferers. Most people now confuse gluten intolerance (real or imagined) and gluten-free with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder that is caused by gluten and results in a number of very severe symptoms. Left untreated, it can lead to additional serious health problems like Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), anaemia, osteoporosis, and intestinal cancers.
Hill Holliday has clearly realised that it would have to use shock to change people’s ingrained perceptions in its campaign for the Celiac Disease Foundation and Beyond Celiac. The awareness campaign used the popular online recipe video format, on Buzzfeed and the campaign website, to highlight the seriousness of celiac disease and what living with the disease is like. Its recipe for lemon cupcakes, for example, includes razor blades as an ingredient. Its pizza includes venomous scorpions. These recipes show what food with gluten feels like to someone with celiac disease.
The campaign was created with the participation of five different celiac disease and gluten-free advocacy organisations, and research with dozens of celiac disease sufferers.
During May, Celiac Awareness Month, the agency also created Celenia’s Cupcakes pop-up shop in South Station, Boston’s busiest train station. The cupcakes the pop-up shop displayed were not so enticing as passers-by expected, Thumbtack Surprise and Vanilla Rusty Nail Crunch being two examples.
The fact is, most people confuse gluten-free diets with celiac disease, but they are not remotely the same,” stated Rick McHugh, creative director at Hill Holliday. “We wanted to educate people, in a visceral way, what it’s really like to live with this disease. And we hope this work fosters empathy and understanding for celiac sufferers.”
“While 3.2 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, there tends to be a lot of confusion about the difference between a gluten-free diet as a lifestyle choice and the necessity of avoiding gluten because your body can’t tolerate it,” added Alice Bast, chief executive officer of Beyond Celiac. “We at Beyond Celiac were happy to have a leadership role in the campaign’s development and hope it helps to educate as well as inspire compassion and empathy for those who experience the physical and social pain of celiac disease.”
The campaign and its website were created for Beyond Celiac in partnership with other celiac organisations – the Canadian Celiac Association, the Celiac Disease Foundation, the Gluten Intolerance Group, and the National Celiac Association.
Creative Agency: Hill Holliday
Chief Creative Officer: Lance Jensen
Group Creative Director: Rick McHugh
Producer: Gretchen Taipale
Planner: Baysie Wightman
Account Executive: Erica Paisner
Account Director: Meegan Loy
Director: Benjamin Gibson
Videographer: Jeremy Ramirez
Experience Designer: Maggie Foley
Creative Technology Director: Steve Callan
Creative Technologist: Samantha Catoggio
Digital Producer: Enrique Graber
Post Production Company: Hill Holliday Brigade
Studio: Cristin Newkirk
Editor: Mike Grasela
Music Company: Premium Beats