Empathy in the machine

07.01.2016 Grey Australia : MS Melbourne Cycle : This Bike Has MS
This Bike Has MS campaign by Grey Australia, Australia

Australia – Ad agency Grey challenged bicycle-makers to create a vehicle that communicated the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) on the body.

  • Notoriously difficult to diagnose, the neurological condition causes a range of symptoms, including tremors, numbness and loss of vision
  • Of the 24m people living in Australia, around 23,000 people suffer from MS

As part of a campaign to promote the MS Melbourne Cycle ride in March 2016, bicycle-makers worked with sufferers of MS including Paralympic cyclist Carol Cooke to engineer a vehicle that enables able-bodied people to experience the sensations of the disorder.

With an imbalanced frame, numb brakes, missing gears and an uncomfortable plastic saddle, the bicycle induces a feeling of dizziness and unease to highlight how much harder MS sufferers have to work to accomplish everyday tasks. ‘You have to constantly fight the bike to stay straight,’ says designer James Macleod. 

The Big Picture

Brands are always searching for new ways to attract empathy and interest towards products and services. Find out why virtual reality is being adopted by major publishers such as The New York Times in our insight report.

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