Clapper on film set. Text on clapper reads MS Society Don't Stop

The making of our Stop MS campaign

We’ve worked seven years towards this moment and now I can’t even find the film set.

It’s a beautiful summer morning. I’m wandering around a leafy Bloomsbury square searching for the entrance to the UCL Institute of Neurology. This is the first set location for our Stop MS TV advert.

Luckily, I bump into Jacqueline, a star of our film, who seems to know where she’s going.

“I’ve been here plenty of times – come with me”, she says.

We’re here to borrow an MRI scanner paid for by donations to the MS Society, perch Jacqueline on the bed and ask her to sing in front of a big camera crew. It’s not an average day at the office.

Jacqueline
was one of four people with MS we asked to belt out the Fleetwood Mac hit, ‘Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)’. Donna sang while drying her hair with a hairdryer. Nikki serenaded us while doing Pilates. Glyn held a  tune while a physiotherapist pushed his legs to his chest.

They all delivered staggering performances, posed for beautiful print advert photography, and gave candid interviews to tell their stories.

Jacqueline and her son on set at our Stop MS shoot

Searching for a big idea

The idea for the TV advert was the work of the creative folk at one of the world’s biggest marketing agencies, Publicis Health. They donated a huge amount of time and talent. ‘Don’t Stop’ was the winning concept from a number of ideas we tested with over 60 people affected by MS.

The story we wanted to tell is incredibly compelling. Today, MS is painful, relentless and exhausting. Tomorrow, the world’s leading MS researchers believe we will stop MS. We have a credible, innovative plan to accelerate progress towards this goal. It just needs money to pull it off.

The song was chosen because it encapsulates the MS community’s hope for a better tomorrow: a future in which scientists believe nobody need worry about their MS getting worse.

It doesn’t get much more motivating than this. Particularly as someone whose aunt died a few years ago, having lived with MS for over 30 years.

James Lawes at work on the set of our Stop MS shoot

You still need talent to bring the vision to life

It takes real skill to take a good idea and turn it into something real. We were lucky to get James Lawes involved, an award-winning director with a real vision for the advert.

He loved that we were casting real people. “It gave us an opportunity to present people with MS in a way that felt authentic, but also not as victims,” he said. “The scenarios feel relatable and that is what I saw would get our audience on side.”

These sentiments are shared by photographer Andy Lo Po who gave his time for free to shoot our print and digital ads.

He said. “We were working with people who were living with MS at various stages, which made it feel very real. They were all completely committed to creating a heartfelt campaign.”

Nikki on yoga mat on the set of our Stop MS shoot

There are so many people to thank

We're also extremely grateful for the generosity we’ve had from MediaCom who will help us get the campaign seen. They’ve secured  a partnership with The Telegraph and space across TV, video on demand, cinema, outdoor and print.

For me, it's been the greatest privilege of my career to have been involved. It's been a labour of love – and I really hope it is embraced by the MS community. Most importantly, I hope it works. Because if I've played even a small part in stopping MS, it would've made my aunt proud.

Watch our Stop MS TV advert now
Glyn in wheelchair being filmed outside for our Stop MS shoot

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

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£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette