COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is one of the main causes of death and disability in the world and it has a significant emotional and physical impact on those who suffer the disease.  When COPD progresses, breathlessness can develop leading to reduction in lung function resulting in disability and stress.

Normal, everyday tasks become difficult or even impossible for COPD patients.

BIE wanted to create a PR-driven campaign coinciding with World COPD Day that would impact the medical community, the general public and would resonate on social media channels, generating awareness not only about the symptoms of COPD but also around the importance of controlling the disease in order to preserve patient quality of life.

We knew that we would only be able to create a campaign that would resonate with audience if we were able to generate empathy. It may be hard to empathize with a patient in a hospital bed from the comfort of your sofa, however if we could find the right situation and the right person we believed that empathy and understanding could be achieved.

Beautiful idea


We wanted to make people aware of the everyday suffering of COPD patients and the fact that normal activities were anything but easy for them.  We wanted patients, the medical community and the general public to understand that these limitations could be avoided with correct disease management.

“It’s not normal not be able to” is the campaign we created based on a real experiment imitating those daily challenges.

We selected well-known Spanish Actor, Imanol Arias, to participate in the three short video clips to be posted on social media and supported by an ambitious PR plan.

The video clips showed three everyday activities that our ambassador would experience as a COPD patient. By strapping weights to his arms and legs and wearing a breathing apparatus that restricted oxygen intake, Imanol experienced the challenges that every COPD patient suffers daily in order to accomplish the simplest of tasks; such as shopping or getting up to answer the phone.

After each experiment, exhausted and often astonished at just how difficult a simple task had become, he was able to explain how he felt and how he now had a clearer understanding of the daily suffering of COPD patients.



On November 15th, World COPD Day, we presented the campaign, together with Imanol, patients and medical specialists to the media and launched the videos online.

In order to involve doctors and specialists in the initiative we created a special kit including a range of materials that would help them spread the message through their social media channels.

And for BIE employees, we reproduced the same experiments that we had filmed our ambassador undertaking in the company offices so that they could also live this real life experience and understand the suffering of COPD patients.

The campaign generated 440+ clippings, including national TV coverage, reaching more than 11 million people.

The videos have been viewed more than 90,000 times