Approximately 32 million people in Europe alone live with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). When those suffering from IBD can’t meet their restrictive dietary requirements, they often have a relapse of their disease that can lead to severely impacting their health.

After a recent unpleasant transcontinental flight due to IBD, a Takeda employee was left with one question, “How can the company I work for help people flying with IBD have a more comfortable flight experience?” After posing the question to Takeda, she was met with a pleasant response.

So I made a quick post on Yammer to colleagues just highlighting this challenge as a IBD patient we face and the response was absolutely phenomenal – Sarah Heidrich; Takeda Global Category Manager – Generic & Licensed APIs

The Takeda communications team launched a new campaign, #flywithIBD, aimed at bringing awareness to IBD within airlines to help recognize and support people living with IBD. This campaign encourages airlines to expand their food choices, publish greater details on ingredients, label food options on in-flight products and automatic seat reservations near the lavatories. The campaign also has plans to launch the new microsite,, in the near future to help further the messaging and provide a resource to find more information.

Why This Matters:

This campaign is a great example of a trend we’re following this year called:

Just Deal With It

Incontinence. Dementia. Divorce. It all happens. More and more brands are opening up to talk about tough topics. These moments of honesty aren’t just showing people what’s possible, they’re actively fighting stigma to change conversations and expectations for a future generation of customers.

It is great to see a brand rally around one of their own employees to help ideate on ways to not only help her, but the other 32 million people living with the disease. It is amazing what brands can learn from looking within sometimes rather than always relying on data and analytics from outside their walls.

About the Author:

As Strategist of Innovation, Drew is charged daily with championing innovative thinking and doing. Drew is part of a global team that leads new innovative ideas that attract different advocates among existing and potential brands that are shared across all agency partners. Drew is backed by over 16 years of brand, sales and marketing experience with Fortune 500 companies such as Progressive and Nationwide Insurance as well as Founder & President of his own healthcare insurance agency for 6 years. Most recently Drew was part of the agency team that launched Briviact for UCB, Foundation Medicine as well as key roles with Eli Lilly Oncology and Johnson & Johnson.