Audience Insights + Advertising for Successful Research Recruitment


PD GENEration is a national initiative from Parkinson’s Foundation that provides no-cost genetic testing and genetic counseling for people with Parkinson’s disease. 

The organization partnered with Media Cause to help recruit people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease into the program by diving into audience insights. By participating, patients complete a genetic test that allows them to see if they have a Parkinson’s-related gene and contribute their data to help advance Parkinson’s disease research.

The Outcome

Not only did we help Parkinson’s Foundation surpass their 500 participant goal by recruiting 1,300 individuals to sign up for PD GENEration, but we also helped get the word out about the importance of genetic testing for Parkinson’s disease, reaching almost 450K people with over 2MM ad impressions.

“Media Cause’s comprehensive research was really a critical factor in such a high-performing campaign, which is delivering genetic data vital to our research efforts.”

Cathy Whitlock, Associate Vice President of Online Communications Parkinson's’ Foundation

The Challenge

Before we could begin recruiting participants for the study, we first needed to understand the PD GENEration program, how it stood out from similar programs, and, most importantly, identify the pain points for the target audience. This discovery process would inform our messaging and creatives.

The Strategy

We kicked off with a discovery process. We spoke with the PD GENEration’s team, interviewed past participants in the study and multiple stakeholders, analyzed discussions in Parkinson’s Facebook groups, and reviewed competitors in the genetic testing sector. From these conversations, we could pull Facebook audience insights to build the main message. 

The key takeaway—people with Parkinson’s disease wanted to know if they had a Parkinson’s-indicative gene and what it meant for their families. Most individuals who looked into genetic testing did so out of concern for their families.

With this audience insight in mind, we decided to build the narrative for the campaign around family. We included images of family and people talking with doctors for the creative. We pulled this into a robust media plan to get the message out to the right audience.

Client Feature

PD GENEration was spotlighted by MarketingSherpa. The organization, and the results of this campaign, were featured in the article “The “Why” Behind the Campaign: 3 quick marketing case studies show the impetus for website redesign, SEO, and social media campaigns

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