PM360 2019 Trailblazer Awards DTC Campaign Winner Vericel and AbelsonTaylor

MACI Campaign (Vericel, AbelsonTaylor)

Vericel created MACI as a best-in-class cartilage repair implant in a market in which brand awareness is extremely challenging to achieve. In cartilage repair orthopedics, patients are often hesitant to have surgery and have time to consider real concerns about cost, demands of physical therapy, and recovery time. When a patient does decide to follow through with surgery, they hesitate to request a branded technique because the “surgeon knows best.” In order to make MACI stand out from the competition, Vericel partnered with AbelsonTaylor to create a campaign that would encourage patients to ask for the treatment by name.

To drive patients to search for a MACI surgeon, the team needed to inspire and challenge them to make a comeback from chronic knee pain. AbelsonTaylor targeted “weekend warriors,” men and women in their 30s and 40s who lead hectic lives, balancing desk work, families, and other duties. They tend to “work hard and play hard.” Many overdo it—they play or work out harder because it is the only time they get to exercise. The agency strove to motivate this audience and provided an inspirational impetus: Five-time Olympian and fitness icon Dara Torres, who herself had MACI surgery. Dana did her research and chose MACI to help her be her personal best. Dara’s determination is the driving force behind the “It’s Your Move” campaign. Using striking black-and-white imagery with splashes of MACI yellow action lines, the campaign is bold and kinetic, much like Dara herself.

The Dara campaign effectively supported awareness, brand engagement, and consideration of MACI. Representing two-thirds of campaign impressions, geo-targeted social and online video were highly effective in delivering impressions outpacing paid search. Paid media was effective in driving brand engagement, accounting for 79% of site visits and 82% of high-value actions. Nearly 80% of the high-value actions performed on the site were for the Find A MACI Specialist tool showing visitor consideration of MACI.


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