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Novartis Oncology - MPNs Internal Campaign 2018

Newlink worked on an employee campaign to raise internal awareness for these conditions, and for Jakavi, a treatment that can help these patients live longer and better lives

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are a group of rare, malignant, progressive blood cancers, individually known as myelofibrosis (MF), polycythemia vera (PV), and essential thrombocythemia (ET). One of the worst aspects of these diseases is that they are silent illnesses that can be fatal if not detected on time.

MPNs are especially challenging because they bring a significant decline in quality of life, while patients face a long list of unmet needs, usually related to diagnostics, prognostic classifications, and therapeutic advancements in these disease areas.

Newlink worked on an employee campaign to raise internal awareness for these conditions, and for Jakavi, a treatment that can help these patients live longer and better lives.



Rally the internal LACan employees around the importance and priority of MPNs (MF & PV), and stress the impact Jakavi can have on the lives of these patients.

Stress the limiting nature of this disease, and Novartis’ solutions to help patients, highlighting the impact that Jakavi has on the lives of people living with this silent condition.

Develop a call to action, asking associates to step into the shoes of a patient with an MPN, and to join the internal campaign.


The communications during this campaign were focused on all the Novartis Oncology associates in the Latin America and Canada region, with the aim of rallying them around patients with MPNs, and inviting them to get in their shoes to understand their condition.


MPNs are considered a non-urgent/hematological type of chronic malignant diseases. Often misleadingly diagnosed, however, Myelofibrosis can progress or get worse over time.

Jakavi can make a huge difference for patients living with MPNs, whose symptoms could be reduced in weeks, allowing them to have a better quality of life. However, MPN's priority sometimes is overlooked by more common diseases in the LACAn Region.


Putting ourselves in the shoes of others is not simple; it is a feeling of empathy that demonstrates our commitment to understanding others’ conditions, with the idea of generating change, a change that goes beyond perceptions and that is demonstrated through our actions.

Putting yourself in the shoes of others represents a step forward that helps us understand their needs, the place where they are, their fears, their limitations, and it aims to motivate everyone to understand their journey and to focus on their wellbeing.

Image designs used for a Yammer content calendar

Programs Implemented

Employee Engagement

In order to raise awareness for MPNs and Jakavi within Novartis, Newlink developed an internal campaign focused around the hashtag #InTheirShoes, calling on Novartis assoicates to step into the shoes of patients with MPNs and understand their condition.

To start off the campaign, all associates received a printed invitation to asume the challenge. Throughout the next few weeks, we emphasized the limiting nature of the disease through E-mails and the regional Yammer group, while promoting the benefits of treatment for these patients.

Then, Novartis associates were encouraged to participate in a challenge, which consists of a simple task: attempting to bend down to tie their shoes while wearing a special vest designed and outfitted in a way that brings to life all the physical challenges an MPN patient faces on a daily basis. including an enlarged spleen and/or liver causing a high amount of pain and making it difficult to move comfortably, and in some cases even to eat and breathe.

The campaign culminated on MPN Awareness Day, during which associates had the chance to participate in a webinar with the leader of a Canadian MPN advocacy group, as well as an MPN patient. The associates viewed it as an eye-opening experience, allowing them to gain a more in-depth understanding of what it’s like to live with this condition.

Materials Developed

  • Campaign Invitation Design
  • Campaign Manual & Instructions
  • E-mail for General Managers
  • Novartis Certificate Design
  • Thank You Letter from Patient
  • 6 Images & Text for Yammer
  • Banner Design for #InTheirShoes Challenge
  • Banner Design for MPN Awareness Day
  • 3 Patient Testimonial Capsules

Execution & Results

The #InTheirShoes Campaign was executed with excellence, with most of the countries in the region adapting it to their local needs. As the campaign progressed, we saw increased participation and engagement through Yammer, as well as through written feedback from the countries. We were especially proud of the Webinar on MPN Awareness Day, which was attended by many associates in person and 488 online connections, and many of the country offices gathered in conference rooms to view the Webinar as a group. Through the campaign, we impacted 9 countries and up to 630 employees. The campaign was so successful, that all of the country leads requested that the campaign be executed externally in the near future.

MPN Awareness Day Event & Webinar in New Jersey

Campaign Feedback

“I was with all the team from Colombia Bogotá. We took off our shoes to symbolize the vulnerability that our patients have. And at the end you mention that when we get in their shoes, we would work while thinking about them. I also answered questions about MPNs and the symptoms of the patients … They asked me if this initiative is only for MPNs and if it will only be approached as an internal campaign. In the end we commented that we can have external initiatives for any of our pathologies with the framework of #InTheirShoes. Excellent initiative and await photos on yammer soon!”

“In Argentina we all joined, Onco and Hemato, there were people literally standing in the room because we did not fit. We liked the testimony a lot, it makes you think a lot ... and well, as the campaign says, it helps us put ourselves in their shoes. Thanks for everything.”

“They watched the Patient’s Perspective Webinar with great feedback.”

“Very good, inspiring and engaging.”

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