A little brat pulls on heart strings for Montreal Children’s Hospital

Who: The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, with Cossette for creative and media, 4zero1 for production (Benjamin Nicolas directing) and Cult Nation for music.

What: “Long live little brats,” (or “Longue vie aux tannants”), a new advertising campaign to help the Children’s Foundation reach a fundraising goal of $200 million by 2026.

When & Where: The campaign launched last week, running on TV, online (video, pre-roll and banners), as well as out-of-home and radio.

Why: The title for the campaign was inspired by the simple truth that healthy kids can sometimes be hard to handle: they get into trouble, act out and give their parents headaches. In other words, they can be little brats. When kids aren’t behaving that way, it is cause for concern.

“The doctor knows the ones who are playing tag or teasing their sibling in the waiting room are generally not too sick. It is the ones sitting solemnly and listlessly in their parent’s arms that she worries about,” said Renée Vézina, president of the Children’s Foundation. “The goal of this campaign is to help sick children be little brats again. That is why I am proud to say, with affection, long live little brats!”

How: The featured ad for the campaign is a two-and-a-half minute short film that powerfully depicts the core insight about how a bratty child is usually a healthy child.

The video starts with a rambunctious young girl getting into trouble and tormenting her parents the way young kids do, soundtracked by an energetic cover of The Clash’s “I fought the law.” However, 30 seconds in, the girl suddenly runs out of steam, she seems exhausted and the music screeches to a halt.

Most of the rest of the ad shows the young girl being treated for cancer, with a now melancholic rendition of the song playing over scenes of chemotherapy, hair loss/nausea, and sleepless nights in a hospital bed, with the parents struggling to manage their fear, sadness and uncertainty.

The ad ends with young girl still in the hospital, but (thankfully) dressed in her normal clothes, and  planning her next prank. She stares straight to camera with a devilish grin before the super “long live little brats” appears on screen.

The talent: Like a lot of ads shot during the pandemic, Cossette used an actual family for this one. The mom is a professional actor, but it was the first acting experience for the young girl.

And we quote: “This campaign will ensure the Children’s continues to set the standard for patient and family-centred care, continues to find novel ways to heal the most complex conditions and continues to train the next generation of paediatric specialists. We want every child to grow up to be a healthy adult.” — Katrin Nakashima, chair of the board of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation Board.



David Brown