SickKids shows Why in latest VS advertising

SickKids Foundation has just launched the fourth phase of its ambitious “SickKids VS” campaign with a new ad that takes viewers inside the hospital.

Called “This is Why” the two-minute ad takes viewers on an emotional tour inside the hospital, delivering just a glimpse of the battles being fought by patients and staff.

“With SickKids VS, we celebrate the resilient spirit of our patients, families and staff, and showcase the good ‘fight’ that goes on at the hospital each day,” says Lori Davison, vice-president, brand strategy and communications, SickKids Foundation, in a release. The ad ends with the doors to the hospital closing with a zoom out to show the building, accompanied by the line: “You might never see it, but this is why we fight.”

The VS campaign, created by Cossette, launched in 2016 to help raise $1.3 billion—the largest fundraiser in Canadian healthcare history—to give the physical infrastructure of Sick Kids Hospital a much needed overhaul to match the world-class care delivered by the hospital staff. To reach that historic goal, Cossette and SickKids have acted like a performance brand rather than a hospital, with energetic, in-your-face creative each year. The campaign has won awards but, more importantly, contributed to SickKids Foundation raising almost 75% of its $1.3 billion goal.

“Our advertising is bold because we have a bold, audacious goal; and this year, VS is bringing it back to focus on the reason we’re fundraising to build a new hospital—for our patients and staff,” said Davison.

The TV spot was directed by Mark Zibert, with a powerful rendition of Nine Inch Nails “Hurt” produced by The Music Project Choir, while media was managed by OMD. Aside from the anthemic two-minute spot, there is a 60-second version as well films to telling more detailed stories about a few of the patients and staff.

“Our goal was to shine a spotlight on what goes on behind the doors of the hospital, the life-or-death battles taking place every minute of every day that not everyone gets to see or appreciate,” said Craig McIntosh, executive creative director with Cossette. “This project was ever-evolving based on who we met at the hospital on-set, and what their story was. We created a campaign that stayed true to the kids we were filming.”

David Brown