Havas Tonic for Debra of America: #ItWontHurtToWatch

It’s the worst disease you’ve never heard of.

Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a rare genetic connective tissue disorder that causes extremely fragile skin. Children born with this horrific condition are often covered head to toe in painful sores (inside and outside of the body), and the needed specialized wound care supplies can cost more than $20,000 a month. While it is as common as cystic fibrosis and ALS, most people have never heard of it.

Led by ECD John Rea, Havas Tonic developed creative work aimed at raising awareness of EB and driving donations to Debra of America, a non-profit dedicated to funding research and providing services and programs for those with EB.

The team created an emotional campaign that shows the true face of the disease. Directed pro bono by Chris Groban of AtSwim, three powerful commercials show what EB families experience on a daily basis, from the painstaking process of changing bandages to the heartbreaking daily reality of being a small child with skin as fragile as a butterfly’s wing.

On Monday, November 16th, members of Tonic gathered in the famed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Rotunda for the 17th Annual Benefit for Debra of AmericaTonic’s Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer Phil Silvestri was honored with the “Partners in Progress Award.” He then premiered the three commercials to the more than 400 guests in attendance, bringing many to tears. One of the attendees being honored, John Crowley, was so moved by the videos that he donated $100,000 on the spot.

These commercials will be shown as pre-roll on the web and also aired as broadcast. Now, EB will be the worst disease that everyone has heard of.

Watch the spots below. And learn more about how you can help Debra fight EB here.


Agency: Havas Tonic
Managing Director/Chief Creative Officer: Phil Silvestri
Managing Partner: Paul Klein
Executive Creative Director: John Rea
Creative Director: Dave Hubbert
Associate Creative Director: Kate Miller
Planning Director: Yona Han
Account Supervisor: Malcolm Halle
Head of Content – Havas Worldwide North America: Sylvain Tron
Executive Producer: Tamal Mannan
Executive Producer: Sabrina Tubio-Cid
Junior Producer: Jamie van Eyck
Director of Business Affairs: Cathy Pitegoff
Senior Business Manager: Lisa Quintela
Senior Talent Specialist: Yvette Aponte
Junior Talent Specialist: Amber Canyon
Production Co: At Swim
Director: Chris Groban
Executive Producer: Michael Appel
Executive Producer: Tomas Krejci
Executive Producer: David Marks
Producer: Nancy Marks
Producer: David Schiavone
Director of Photography: Chris Walters
Post Production: Studio 6
Executive Producer/Director of Operations: Dayna Vecsi
Executive Producer: Melanie Wickham
Post Producer: Mark Forte
Senior Editor: Scott Gaillard
Assistant Editors: David Bryen and David Soto
Graphic Titles: Peter Berthold
VFX, Supervisor/Composite Artist: Joe Vitale
Engineer: Brandon Jiaconia
Video and Stills: Evan Harms and Erik Nuenighoff
Color Grading: The Mill
Colorist: Josh Bohoskey
Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield
Color Coordinator: Evan Bauer
VO Casting: KAMP Casting