ALS Weaves Debilitating Maze Through Unwitting Hosts


A few years ago we met a farmer who lost his wife to Lou Gehrig's disease. The process was short but painful: it hit her all of a sudden, and took her in a matter of months.

He ended up publishing their story under the title When the Music Stopped. When we asked why he chose it, he explained that Lou Gehrig's -- or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) -- functions by depriving you first of the muscles you use most. It spreads rapidly to the rest of your body, and finally ends in death. His wife was a piano player; in her case, things began falling apart when she could no longer play.

Imagine it: the slow dismantling of your life, beginning with the loss of your smallest, dearest pleasures. It's a terrible thing to hear, and a worse thing to experience first- or second-hand.

That's the crux of "Head and Shoulders," a powerful ad released by the ALS Society of Canada. Put together by Lowe Roche to the playful, active tune of "head and shoulders, knees and toes," it makes you privy to a father and his family as their universe spirals into painful stillness ... along with him.

The print campaign, "No Signal," is just as visually compelling. It also teaches you a bit about how ALS starts. See Hands (1 and 2) and Legs.

by Angela Natividad    Feb-17-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Best, Campaigns, Cause, Commercials, Television   

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thank you for this, Angela. My dad died from ALS and it is indeed a terrible disease. only ~ 30,000 people in the U.S. are afflicted at any one time, so unfortunately the disease doesn't get that much attention nor funding.

watching the ad was painful enough, even eight years later; I'm not sure that I could make it through the book, but hopefully it and this campaign will raise some awareness.

I'm not in the ad business, but I certainly enjoy the daily email that you and Steve produce. Keep up the great work!


Posted by: kvnmnnng on February 17, 2009 10:27 PM

It doesn't have to go that way. People experiencing the condition called als can self heal using holistic and mind body approaches. Als is basically a crisis in which the structure of a person falls apart and the person's response serves to propel the destruction. So the person needs to learn to respond differently and to restructure. Take some doing. Still completely doable though.

Posted by: Marty Murray, Rye, New York on February 18, 2009 11:43 AM