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Charles River Labs:

Rewriting a brand’s perception


See how Linus helped Charles River Laboratories change the way it communicates to deliver an impact through the stories of life-changing patients and doctors.

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Campaign results.















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What we did.

Strategy Linus Capabilities


  • Brand Activation
  • Marketing Development

  • Stakeholder Alignment

  • Competitive Assessment

  • Positioning

Creative Linus Capabilities


  • Campaign Concept

  • Catalytic Cinema (Documentary)

  • Creative Copywriting

  • UI/UX
  • Development

The campaign.

Over its 70-year-history, Charles River Labs grew from a one-person laboratory to a global Contract Research Organization (CRO) of more than 11,000 employees, providing a vast array of services and offerings all along the drug development and discovery pipeline, including basic research, discovery, safety, efficacy, clinical support, and manufacturing.

However, many of their customers still just knew them as “the model company” and not as a full service CRO and a full-service partner.



Linus helped redefine traditional partnerships between CRO’s and pharma and biotech by reaffirming that at the center of drug discovery and development is a partnership that is less about outsourcing and more about pooling expertise and gaining advantages in terms of time, budget, and understanding "Every Step of the Way."

Charles River Ginger Linus


Through the "Every Step of the Way" campaign, we articulated the important contributions that every scientist in every corner of the globe makes toward advancing drug discovery and development and ultimately bringing life-saving medications to patients. We did this by doing the unthinkable: getting a major pharma company to go on record and talk about their relationship with a CRO. The culminating campaign experience tells a holistic story to what it takes from the patient to safety testing to bring new treatments to market.


Linus created a set of highly engaging still and motion assets to be used in digital marketing outbound from social to digital to out-of-home that were culled from the story of a real patient, Ginger, who had treated her Stage IV lung cancer with a novel therapeutic created by Charles River partner Astra Zeneca. The imagery was captured on site of our documentary shoot by a still photographer and included the entire cast of the story. CRL promoted the ads by using a charity donation to a lung-cancer charity to drive incredible numbers of engagement on the campaign inbound channel.


All of the outbound assets drove to the inbound digital hub which consisted of rich documentary content as well as an customer-driven, interactive network diagram with content that connected real patients, therapeutic areas, and relevant drug discovery and development phases of CRL’s business to the marquis content. This experience allowed users to discovery the scope of CRL’s business on their own and allowed CRL to capture relevant leads.

Charles River Print Ad Linus

Catalytic Cinema

We brought Ginger to the World Lung Cancer Congress in Vienna to meet the people behind the scenes of developing her therapy. This experience was captured in a powerful short documentary where Ginger thanks a group from Astra Zeneca and Charles River by performing a concert for them with a grand piano in true Vienna style! She informs the crowd that it was their therapy that gave the performer of many years her voice back.

Because the "Every Step of the Way" campaign takes a documentary-style storytelling approach and includes real people (patients, scientists, researchers) in its photography and motion storytelling, the tone of the campaign is human, intimate, authentic, and based on facts which drives an emotional connection to audiences.


The trailer of the documentary generated over 165,000 views on Charles River’s Facebook page just in the first few weeks of launch, and the campaign resulted in over 12 million impressions for Charles River after only three months, with very little media spend.

The campaign brings a sense of intimacy with pharmaceutical companies, changing existing myths about partnering with the pharma industry. 



From being known as the “the company that sells mice,” Charles River now recognizes and celebrates unsung heroes—the researchers and scientists featured in Ginger’s story—as they continue to fight the race against cancer and to ensure that science is everything it can be. The campaign also serves as a wonderful opportunity to instill and boost internal pride within Charles River, which continues to build initiatives around her story. For example, the company recently partnered with Lung Cancer Alliance to promote lung cancer research.

Charles River Ginger Social Linus

During AACR, people endorsed Charles River Labs on social media to become a part of the common purpose to fight cancer. Charles River donated $5 every time someone shares the trailer on Facebook, thus encouraging more people to participate in this movement.

By developing a campaign that focused on a human story, the company created many PR-related moments for itself, its broader constituents and the community at large. Every aspect of this story has more PR value. Even a recent financial analyst report nodded to Charles River's marketing initiative—a first in our industry sector. 

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