Taking on Alzheimer's Disease with the help of a legend

This November, during National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, the Alzheimer's Association will harness the creativity, charm and "pure imagination" of Willy Wonka, played by the great and extremely talented Gene Wilder, who we lost last year to this devastating disease.

An unfortunate truth is that many people don’t know Alzheimer's is a fatal disease — it’s not a bit of memory loss or normal aging.

Like cancer and AIDS, Alzheimer’s is a disease that requires action. And, to inspire action, we must raise concern about Alzheimer’s disease and awareness of the Alzheimer's Association so people know where to turn to and access support.

This November, during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association will harness the creativity, charm and "pure imagination" of Willy Wonka, played by the great and extremely talented Gene Wilder, who we lost last year to this devastating disease.

With the help of his beloved character in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the association will lead an integrated PR, social media and digital activation with our partner on this project, MullenLowe.

The effort underscores the truth about Alzheimer’s and issues an inspiring call to action: "Alzheimer’s can steal your imagination piece by piece. But with your help, imagine how we can end it."

In a short video shared across digital platforms, viewers will be immersed in the movie’s original footage, delighting in the magical world of Willy Wonka’s factory, complete with a river of chocolate, gummy bears hanging from trees, and licorice flowers.

Extensions of this concept will be shared via PR efforts and digital properties highlighting constituents who are using their imagination to fight this disease through creative fundraising and awareness efforts. The goal with this campaign is to inspire people to learn more and to act to end Alzheimer’s.

Recognizing the urgency of the cause, the Gene Wilder estate, Warner Brothers, and Universal Music quickly approved the use of Wilder’s likeness, original film footage, and music. While in many instances these steps could have taken years, approval was secured in just a few weeks because of the passion of those involved and the enormous impact of the disease.

This "Pure Imagination" project complements the Alzheimer’s Association’s broad First Survivor advertising campaign, year-round celebrity engagement, and proactive media relations efforts to showcase progress in Alzheimer’s research. 

Growing concern and awareness is just one component of our organizational strategy to change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease, but we see it as a key driver of our mission goals: accelerating critical research, enhancing care and support for families, and advocating for the needs and rights of all those affected.

We believe these efforts will ultimately help us achieve our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

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