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By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

January 29, 2024 | 3 min read

UK charity explores new ways to raise awareness of devastating disease through tie-up with much-loved ITV soap Coronation Street.

Motor Neurone Disease Association has partnered with ITV to promote a campaign through a soap opera plotline.

Coronation Street character Paul Foreman was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in April and the MND Association has been acting as a storyline research partner advising on the on-screen portrayal of the illness.

Off the back of this, ITV has given a premium ad spot to MND Association’s latest brand awareness campaign launching tonight. The minute-long film will be shown in the ad break and positioned as a ‘Coronation Street Presents’ advert – a first for the show. After the ad launch tonight (January 29), the media deal will ensure the ads are placed in the most relevant episodes.

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The ad is voiced by Coronation Street actor Daniel Brocklebank, whose character Billy Mayhew is married to Paul Ash. The soundtrack is a version of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ by Roberta Flack, a musician who is also living with motor neurone disease.

Titled ‘The Love Inside’, the concept for the campaign is that the disease might take the ability to walk, talk and eat but it can’t take the love inside people suffering from the condition.

More ads will be released over the coming months that will follow pivotal points in Paul’s storyline. One spot yet to be released tells the story of Dr Louise Jordan who has passed away since the filming took place in November.

The charity’s chief executive Tanya Curry said the partnership with ITV was a result of the organization exploring new ways to raise awareness through a different audience.

“We hope these adverts, as part of a wider-reaching campaign, will deepen our connection with the Coronation Street audience, inspire support for our work and push us closer to achieving our vision of making motor neurone disease treatable and ultimately curable,” Curry said.

Developed by the Good Agency, the campaign will be supported by out of home, social and print. Ocean Outdoor and The i have given complimentary media spend to the campaign. MI Media struck the deal between ITV and MND Associtation and Talon for the out of home placements.

Last year, an Alzheimer’s Research UK awareness campaign became the first ad to run during Channel 4 News as the charity looked for new ways of expanding its reach.

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