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NASS – The National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society


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NASS – The National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society are the only UK charity supporting people with axial SpA specifically. Axial SpA is a form of inflammatory arthritis that most commonly affects the spine. It is not rare and affects an estimated 1 in 200 of the adult population in the UK. (approximately 220,000*) The current time to diagnosis of axial SpA in the UK averages approximately 8.5 years from symptom onset.

NASS research released in June 2021 found:

  • 91%

    have never heard of the condition. 

  • 80%

    could not identify the symptoms of axial SpA.

  • 73%

    did not know that the disease starts when people are young.  

The Objective

The Objective

Raise awareness of axial SpA as a condition targeting a younger audience of 18–40-year-olds in Northern Ireland with persistent lower back pain to motivate them to consider whether they have the condition. We wanted to encourage them to go online to and complete the online symptom checker.

The Creative

The Creative

We wanted to show that the first victim of Axial SpA is optimism, selecting imagery with an aspirational focus which has been crumpled or cracked to suggest that it is no longer attainable. The crumpled paper visually represents the physical manifestation of back pain and the accompanying contorted movements used to alleviate discomfort. Similarly, the shattered screen serves as a metaphor for the profound and disruptive effect of back pain on daily life.


The Strategy

The Strategy

6-week highly targeted campaign to the 109,000, 18–40-year-olds living in Belfast. We used TGI to identify the top channels for the target audience to deliver a campaign across their high frequency media touchpoints.


Geotargeted OOH to South and East Belfast. We used a combination of high impact billboards, Adshel Live and shopping centre digital screens. We partnered with leading OOH contractor Clear Channel, whose digital plant enabled us to creatively exploit their screens. We handpicked locations adjacent to the commuter hubs of Lanyon and Great Victoria Street stations and proximity to the clinic location.


TGI identified that 51% of our 18-40 audience tune into Cool FM every week. (NI TGI 2023) With 490,000 weekly listeners and an average Facebook monthly reach of over 1.5 million, Bauer station Cool FM was the perfect radio and social partner. We  ran an airtime campaign which targeted the commuter peaks and complemented with cost-effective airtime at night and the weekends when our audience were out socialising. 

To enable us to give more detail on the condition and educate our audience we ran two native content articles on Cool’s website and drove reads through social posts to their million plus following across Facebook and Instagram. 

Social Media

70% of our target audience use Facebook regularly and 60%, Instagram. (Source: NI TGI 2023). We delivered hero creative reinforcing our OOH but expanded our messaging with a suite of awareness building and direct response formats. We applied granular targeting of those with an interest in health and wellbeing and contact sports which lead to back pain.

The Results

  • 330+ Symptom Checker completions
  • 9,000+ new visits to the NASS website
  • 3,350+ new unique users to the NASS website
  • 81% of 18–40yo in Belfast reached on Outdoor
  • 565,000+ adults in NI reached on Radio
  • 2,390+ people read articles on the Cool FM website
  • 995,000+ ads served on Social
  • 228,000+ people engaged with ads on Social