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A Dose of Superhero Serum: Reframing Experiences

Written by: Bill Sherman on Tuesday, 4 June 2013, 8:49 PM

Recently, the AC Camargo Cancer Center and Warner Brothers partnered with advertising agency JWT Brazil to change how children experience chemotherapy treatments.

If you haven’t seen this amazing video, first grab a tissue. Watch the video, and then join me below the video for a discussion.


The Magic Inside Childrens’ Hospitals

I’ve personally never been a cancer patient, but I have a lot of experience with childrens’ hospitals. They’re often some of the most amazing places on earth. You might think that they would be dour or gloomy, but that’s not the case. Instead, they’re often very vibrant and vital. Go to the playroom in a childrens’ hospital and you’ll see kids fully-focused on having fun.

The Power of the Frame: An IV Case

Children who enter the AC Camargo Cancer Center have their own superhero entrance, their IV bags are encased within superhero insignia, and they play in a game room decorated as the “Hall of Justice”. More importantly, the children receive a frame tale—an comic books explains how a superhero lost their powers and relied on expert doctors to help them regain their strength.

This video shows an amazing insight into how we typically frame experiences vs. how we should frame experiences. We could (and usually do) frame chemo drugs as “painful” with many side-effects.  But we could also frame them another way, as a powerful serum designed to help patients recover.

Tough Messages at Work

In life we have to convey a lot of tough messages (leaders to employees, consultants to clients, employees to customers).  However, whatever tough message you need to deliver, it’s probably not as tough as explaining cancer treatment to a pediatric patient.

The next time that you have to deliver a tough message to an audience, remember that this trio of organizations  found a way to explain chemotherapy to children. And they made it amazingly cool.


Calling All Superheroes!

In the world of organizational change, I think we often follow the Mary Poppins mantra of “A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down.” But that message still focuses on the unpleasantness of the medicine. Instead, “Superhero Serum” focuses on the goal: treatment and recovery.

  • Do you frame a tough experience as a “bitter pills” or as a “superhero serum”?
  • Can you build a story around the message? (How has this experience helped others who are like me?)
  • Can you deliver a consistent message?

You may not be able to convince Warner Brothers to let you use Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Green Lantern to help you communicate your message. You need to find your own magic.

What will your Superhero Serum be?


One Response to “A Dose of Superhero Serum: Reframing Experiences”

  1. Draw Your Own Video Game | aha-moments Says:

    […] Home&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbspContact Me « A Dose of Superhero Serum: Reframing Experiences […]

    June 5th, 2013 11:05 am

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