Sunday, 3 March 2024
Sunday, 3 March 2024

Motor Neurone Disease Association partners with Coronation Street for UK first

PREMIERING tonight (29 January), a UK first sees the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association partner with much-loved TV soap, Coronation Street for the first ever ‘Coronation Street Presents…’ As storyline research partner with Coronation Street, MND Association will utilise this exclusive format to showcase the charity’s new advert. ITV and the MND Association have worked together to give insight into the best time to place this ad for its premiere in addition to subsequent ads.

Daniel Brocklebank who plays Billy, the partner of Paul Foreman who has MND on screen, provides the voice-over for ‘Coronation Street Presents…’ Daniel is also an ambassador for the charity.

The films were developed by a purpose-driven strategic and creative agency. The powerful and highly emotive campaign shows the brutality of MND, which destroys people’s bodies and lives and takes so much, but highlights the hope – the one thing the disease can’t take is ‘The Love Inside’.

The first 60-second advert tells the story of a real-life couple, Mike Sumner and wife Zoe. Mike was diagnosed with the disease in 2020, shortly after meeting and becoming friends with Zoe. Friendship turned to love and the couple married in 2022. They live together in Sheffield. The film shows their powerful connection as they deal day-to-day with the devastating toll MND takes on Mike’s body.

Poignantly, the advert features the song ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ by legendary artist Roberta Flack, who herself is living with MND.      

The campaign reflects Coronation Street’s current storyline charting popular character, Paul Foreman’s journey with MND. The team at the MND Association has been supporting the soap with the portrayal of Paul’s character, to ensure an accurate depiction as the disease progresses.     

The launch will be followed by subsequent adverts at pivotal points in Paul’s storyline over the coming months. These will tell the stories of Mike Small who now relies on eye-driven technology to communicate. Also featured are Louise Jordan and her husband Rob. Sadly, just weeks after filming, Louise, who was diagnosed with MND in 2021, died. Her wish, and that of the family, is that the campaign, including the advert featuring her, go ahead.

Tanya Curry, Chief Executive at the MND Association said:

“The launch of this new campaign is an important moment for the charity, as we explore new ways of raising awareness of this devastating disease among a different audience.

“From the outset we wanted the campaign to focus on real people and we are so grateful to Mike and Zoe, Louise and Rob, and Mike for supporting this campaign and allowing us to tell the story of their love, vulnerability, and bravery through these incredibly moving films.

“The Coronation Street team’s fictional portrayal has taken MND into the homes of five million regular viewers and given us the opportunity to engage those people with the reality of the disease through this new campaign. Six people every day are diagnosed with MND in the UK and currently, there is no cure. 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 MND treatable and ultimately curable.”

Bhav Chandrani, Director of BE Studio from ITV said:

“The work the MND Association does is so very vital in helping those living with the disease and their loved ones. So we’re privileged here at ITV to launch our new ‘Coronation Street Presents…’ initiative with such an important message.”

John Whiston, MD Continuing Drama, ITV Studios said:

“All of us, actors, writers, production team and our audience, have been on a journey of awareness about MND these last few months. And it feels like a really important journey as we start to understand the full impact of MND, not just on those with the disease, but also on their loved ones.

Motor Neurone Disease Association partners with Coronation Street for UK first“This initiative helps cement our relationship with the MND Association and will hopefully bring even greater awareness of the disease to many more people, as well as information on what can be done to help.”

MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. It affects more than 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time and has no cure.

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