Zebra Subway Car Runs Through Boston to Draw Attention to Rare Diseases

Bostonians may be seeing stripes this month, thanks to Cambridge BioMarketing, a pharma and biotech ad agency that specializes in orphan drugs. It has wrapped a subway car on the MBTA’s Red Line in zebra stripes to raise awareness of rare diseases.

Why zebra stripes? Rare diseases are often likened to animals in the healthcare industry because of the “rule” that if it has hooves it must be a horse. However, as rare-disease patients and caregivers know, sometimes the hooves belong to a zebra.

“The car is meant to be visually intriguing and invite people in, and then inside the car there are all sorts of statistics and promotional messages around the idea that rare diseases are actually much more common than you think,” Mike Hodgson, chief creative officer at Cambridge BioMarketing, said in an interview.