Nov. 12, 2012

Lupus Foundation of America Launches a Major National Awareness Campaign

New Survey Shows Americans Know Little or Nothing About Disease That Affects1.5 Million

WASHINGTON—Following a new survey that shows nearly two-thirds of the public knows little or nothing about lupus, a mysterious and devastating disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, the Lupus Foundation of America is tackling the problem head-on by launching a nationwide education campaign that will show lupus for what it really is – the cruel mystery. The campaign, with its rallying cry, Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery™, aims to energize the public and ultimately Congress to devote serious resources to its cure.

“Lupus is more pervasive and more severe than people think, and has an impact that the public doesn’t realize,” said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. “We must clarify the serious nature and devastating impact of lupus.”

The campaign was inspired by research that showed people with lupus do not want the disease kept off the radar. It highlights the troubling nature of lupus, a disease that inexplicably targets young women, is difficult to diagnose, strikes without warning, can be mild or fatal, has a range of symptoms that are hidden from view, and tragically, has no known cause or cure.

“Don’t sugarcoat it—that’s what one person living with lupus told us point-blank,” said Raymond. “It’s time to label it for what it is—the cruel mystery—and rally support to find a cure.”

The organization’s new positioning strategy, messages, and tag line—Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery™—were created in collaboration with the New York branding team Siegelvision, headed by brand guru Alan Siegel. The riveting phrase “cruel mystery” inspired the Siegelvision team to create the new Lupus Foundation of America logo which features a strikingly positioned question mark in place of the letter ‘P’ in the word lupus.

Siegel, whose team specializes in cutting through complex communications challenges, explained the development of the branding program: “We learned that typical discussions of lupus are not always realistic and clear, and that people with the disease, the staff of the Lupus Foundation of America and its national network, and lupus doctors and researchers have a passion to communicate the disease’s true challenges and debilitating impact.”

The brand identity was unveiled today at a National Press Club event featuring Shannon Boxx, a three-time gold medalist with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, who has lived with lupus since 2007. Foundation officials also kicked off a multi-city education and awareness initiative, the Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery™ National Tour, to engage the public, healthcare providers, and those with the disease to join the fight to end lupus.

The centerpiece of the education effort is a 45-foot bus with eight interactive exhibits and displays, where visitors can experience what it is like to live with lupus, reinforcing the urgent need to end the disease’s brutal impact. Visitors also can demonstrate support for people with lupus by signing a petition that asks Congress to provide more money for lupus research and education services. The bus tour will begin in San Francisco and travel to cities including Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Raleigh, Richmond, Cincinnati, Detroit, Boston, and New York City.

Also at the event, the Lupus Foundation of America released results from a new, independent survey that clearly demonstrates the lack of understanding surrounding lupus. It reveals that nearly three out of four Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are unaware of lupus or know little or nothing about the disease beyond the name. This is particularly disturbing because this is the age group at the greatest risk for the disease.