New hospital coalition asks Canadians for extra support on the front lines

Who: The Frontline Fund, with Conflict for creative, OMD for media, Citizen Relations for PR and Corus for TV production.

What: “Cover Us,” a launch campaign for the just-created Frontline Fund—a coalition of more than 100 hospitals across Canada working together to raise money to better support those fighting COVID-19.

When & Where: The campaign began Thursday, running in English and French across digital/social, TV and radio, using mostly donated media.

Why: Hospitals and healthcare workers need additional financial support above and beyond what is coming from governments. Frontline Fund creates an easy, one-stop solution for anyone who wants to donate. Its founding partners include Maple Leaf and TD.

Money raised will go toward supplies (such as personal protective equipment and ventilators) and research, but also additional support for frontline workers. “Things that go way beyond PPEs, like a hotel room for a doctor or a nurse who’s too scared to go home—to bring this home to the family—or mental health coverage,” said Conflict creative director Niall Kelly.

How: Like most new campaigns since the pandemic hit, this was a project on a very tight timeline—from brief to launch in two weeks. The TV was written by Conflict, but is still being finalized by Corus. The radio ad features Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean, who “read it on his phone in his house,” said Kelly. “It’s a little bit low-fi, but I guess that’s the style these days.” (Listen below.)

The headline: “Cover Us” was directly inspired by the war and battle metaphors being used to describe the fight against COVID. “The name of the Frontline Fund was there already,” said Kelly. The idea of asking for help from the frontline of a fierce battle led them to “Cover Us.” “It really resonated with everyone pretty quickly.”

The visuals: The creative is intended to convey “calm but urgent,” said Kelly. “Even the design is very much a modern take on World War II-era posters: big, bold, simple type. The colour palette we chose was super evocative of the nurses uniform and the kind of colours you’d see in hospitals.’

And we quote: “The frontline fund is trying to look beyond the immediacy of ‘more masks,’ to what are the health-care workers at the front going to need to not only help us fight this thing, but make sure we all come out on the other side okay,” said Kelly.

David Brown