Cannes Lions

Imaginary Friend Society "Integrated Campaign"


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Our creative solution was to make cancer information and support more accessible for kids. To develop a resource and system that would both educate and entertain. So, we created a group of fun, fictional characters called The Imaginary Friend Society. Their job? To help deliver cancer-care information in a way kids can relate to. The idea itself was born from real cancer survivors who told us they had imaginary friends who helped them cope with long hospital stays. The AR app allowed kids to bring the characters into any environment where they would offer words of encouragement anytime a kid needed a boost.


Through a series of 22 animated short films, The Imaginary Friend Society characters explain every facet of cancer these kids face. Covering everything from "What is an MRI?" to "Returning to School" to more emotionally complicated topics like "Feeling Sad." Ultimately providing kids with a knowledge base to help them find a little bit of control and understanding in their fight against cancer. To provide emotional support, an AR app allowed kids to bring Imaginary Friend characters to life inside the hospital. The characters would offer words of encouragement when kids need them most, like before an MRI scan or radiation treatment.


Once launched, a survey was conducted to quantifiably confirm that the films had the desired impact for those directly affected by pediatric cancers.

Upon seeing the videos, 96% felt that the videos help parents and caregivers talk with kids about difficult issues. 85% agreed that the videos helped kids feel less anxious and scared. 80% said the videos meet a real need and are something they would recommend to others.

Without a single media dollar spent, the campaign spread and received significant pro-bono media support. TV messaging covered 83% of the U.S., and National TV began March 2018 on Hulu.

Most importantly, leading hospitals around the country, like Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, have permanently adopted the Imaginary Friend Society film series into their in-patient entertainment network. The films have been translated into over 20 different languages and are being distributed across 4 continents.

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