Cannes Lions

SickKids VS



1 Gold
1 Silver
3 Shortlisted
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Case Film
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We redefined the word ‘sick’ (long part of our hospital name) by instead focusing on the fierce fighting spirit and will to win that children with severe illness possess. In doing so, we not only empowered our patients but also reframed SickKids as a competitive performance brand (from a charity brand) with a single goal – to win.

By positioning ourselves as a unified and highly competitive team we boldly declared the enemies were fighting against. It was SickKids VS cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart defects, liver failure, autism, and any other illness that dared to take from us.

Gone was the sad, helpless, tear-inducing advertising and small, passive ad placements typical of the children’s hospital category. Instead we portrayed our patients, doctors, nurses, and researchers like Nike would one of their star athletes – tough, resilient, and unyielding and we gave them the eye-catching and prominent placements they deserved.


Typical children’s hospital advertising operates like most other charities, choosing small and passive ad placements to appear helpless and needy. By reframing ourselves as a performance brand, we needed to act like one. We launched with a bold and intense :120 film during the Toronto Maple Leafs home opener (in arena and on broadcast) thus guaranteeing the majority of Torontonians would be watching. From there, we pushed out further films online, and blanketed the city with massive, eye-catching, high profile placements. We dominated Yonge + Dundas square (Toronto’s version of Times Square) with aggressive and assertive photography or our patients. We plastered billboards across the city, wrapped streetcars, and even completely took over the inside of the hospital itself with large installations. We also created a website where the content would tailor itself to the specific fight a donor chose.


The SickKids VS campaign from October 2016 to December 2016 was the most successful advertising campaign in the hospital’s 141-year history, raising a total of $57.9 million. The online films garnered 8 million + views and 500 million+ impressions. Online donations rose ? 695% with ? 32% in the number of transactions and a ? 63% increase in average donation dollar amount. But most importantly, we succeeded in our goal in reaching a more millennial and male audience. Donations from both targets ? 12%.

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