WHAT: An intense new charity drive ad for Toronto's SickKids Hospital that shows the fighting spirit of children facing medical challenges and disease.
WHO: SickKids Foundation, Cossette, director Mark Zibert
WHY WE CARE: Most PSAs aimed at tapping our emotions around an issue typically (and often very effectively) swing right for our heartstrings, banking on the idea that the goosebumps on our arms or tears welling in our eyes will spur us into action, to donate money, and help however we can. But this new spot to raise funds for Toronto's SickKids Hospital instead focuses on the strength and toughness these kids and their families have in dealing with incredibly difficult, sometimes heartbreaking, circumstances.
Backed by an adrenaline pumping tune ("Undeniable" by Donnie Daydream), it has the look and feel of a Nike spot, but for the reality check halfway through to remind us that it's very much about life and death.
Two years ago SickKids launched a campaign—featuring one major tearjerker of an ad—that told doc-style stories of kids and families at the hospital, to raise awareness and funds for its medical research and facilities. The result was a record $37-million in donations for December 2014, and a year later followed it up with updates on those original stories that again boosted December 2015 donations to $38 million. Vice-president of brand strategy for SickKids Foundation Lori Davison told The Globe and Mail that while donations remain strong, the number of people giving is not growing, so the goal of this new approach is to attract new donors. "Our opportunity to grow our share is by tapping into new audiences. . . . We’re not going to get to a new level of giving—and new people—by reminding people of what they already know."