The Best Work You May Never See: AMV BBDO Focuses On Rebuilding Lives for The Stroke Association


Robert Goldrich
Thursday, May. 30, 2019


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AMV BBDO’s new campaign for the Stroke Association raises awareness of the devastating impacts of having a stroke, and the challenges faced by survivors of all ages as they rebuild their lives. 

In the U.K. a stroke strikes every five minutes, making it the leading cause of disability in the country. It doesn’t just happen to the elderly either. A stroke can affect anyone at any time, and for the lucky ones who survive, recovery can be a long and difficult process. 

“Rebuilding Lives” is a film narrated by real stroke survivors Alisha, Max, Luna, Baz, Erin and Paul. As they talk proudly to camera, recounting their traumatic experiences, we see each story symbolized in dynamic works of art, each piece individually crafted, inspired by their unique and powerful narratives. 

By using artwork, AMV BBDO helps people to understand that a stroke happens in the brain--the control center for who you are and what you can do--and how the impact varies depending on which part of the brain is affected. It could be anything from wiping out your speech and physical abilities to affecting your emotions and personality.

The film was directed by Lotje Sodderland (Netflix documentary My Beautiful Broken Brain), herself a stroke survivor. Sodderland was able to tap into how important it is to be able to use art and visual storytelling to convey the intensity of the trauma. She commented, “Although it is exhilarating to have survived a life-threatening condition, the recovery period is very slow and learning to live with your new brain can be devastating. To reach the period of acceptance takes a long time, so finding new ways to communicate and express ourselves is absolutely key. We wanted to work with a wide range of artists in diverse mediums to reflect the profoundly personal nature of neural recovery and worked closely with each survivor to assign the right artist to her or his experience. Each survivor has a unique story and we really wanted to embody that diversity in the campaign--because in my experience this is one of the challenges for the medical world to tackle; how to help stroke survivors regain their selfhood when they don’t know who the person was before, or who they might turn out to be, especially when she or he may have lost the ability to communicate? So it was very important to me to get a broad, rich range of creative expressions that would convey the subjective nature of human consciousness.”

Toby Allen, creative partner from AMV BBDO, said: “We wanted to give stroke survivors a voice and a face, letting them tell their own story in their own words. Each stroke is different and that diversity comes across in the survivors featured and the different ways we’ve represented their experience.”


Client Stroke Association Agency AMV BBDO London Andy Vasey, Dan Warner, creative directors; Toby Allen, copywriter; Jim Hilson, art director; Edwina Dennison, producer; Jemima Maunder-Taylor, sr. strategist. Production Company Lief  Lotje Sodderland, director; Margo Mars, producer. Postproduction Absolute  Editorial Trim. Sound Ben Chick, sound designer/composer. Artists work featured: Rhea Thierstein - (Alisha); Mandy Smith - (Max); Jelly Luise - (Luna); Amie Dicke - (Baz); Nina Cairns - (Erin); Diego Vazquez - (Paul)

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