With love, Scarborough hospitals ask for equal treatment from Toronto donors

Who: Scarborough Health Network and Ogilvy Canada, with Revolver Films for production (directed by Scott Cudmore), MediaCom Canada for media.

What: “Love, Scarborough,” a new pro bono fundraising campaign for the SHN, which is comprised of three Scarborough hospitals—Birchmount Hospital, Centenary Hospital and Scarborough General—as well as eight satellite sites. It’s the largest fundraising campaign in SHN’s history, with a goal of raising $100 million in donations.

When & Where: The campaign launched Monday, running across TV, digital, radio, print and out-of-home. There is also a dedicated website at LoveScarborough.ca.

SHN has received nearly $4 million in donated media from several of the country’s leading vendors, including Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and The Globe and Mail. The campaign’s first three-week flight runs through January, followed by a second six-week flight debuting in April.

Why:The campaign addresses a significant imbalance in public donations to Scarborough hospitals, with the three hospitals that comprise the SHN receiving less than 1% of all public hospital donations, even through Scarborough accounts for roughly 25% of the city’s population.

“We’ve been under-funded for decades,” said Jennifer Lee, SHN’s director of marketing and communications. “When you look at all the big downtown [Toronto] hospitals and you compare their public donation with our public donations, it’s almost zero.”

How: The campaign is anchored by an evocative 60-second video that takes the form of an open letter to Toronto from Scarborough.

The message is delivered via a diverse group of people using a variety of different tactics—including a nighttime projection, a hand-painted message in a store window, and posters being applied to a telephone pole. “It’s all about signs around Toronto trying to scream out this rally call,” said Lee. “They’re supposed to represent Scarborough residents coming to Toronto and shouting from the rooftops.”

The spot points out that new Canadians comprise a large percentage of Scarborough’s population (according Census data, immigrants comprise 57% of the population) and that its hospitals receive a fraction of fundraising donations.

“Dear Toronto, when will we all be treated equally?” asks Randell Adjei, a Scarborough born and raised poet who was named Ontario’s first poet laureate in April, in a voiceover. The voiceover further informs viewers that “the city’s most diverse area is also its most ignored,” and that the region has the oldest population being treated in the oldest hospitals.

“Our goal was to be bold and cause some awakening and education,” said Lee of the campaign’s forthright approach. “We’re really hopeful this campaign is going to get some buzz and the much-needed attention that Scarborough hospitals deserve.”

A Scarborough font: All of the words in the campaign use a font called “Scarborough Sans” which was created using the handwriting of 26 individuals connected to the SHN—from doctors and nurses to patients and donors—who were invited to pen a letter about Scarborough and its hospitals. People are invited to write their own message requesting support for SHN, which will appear in the Scarborough Sans font and may be featured in future iterations of the campaign.

And we quote: “We don’t think ‘Love, Scarborough’ is going anywhere anytime soon; it’s going to be around for a few years,” said Lee. “We’re hoping this is successful and we make our targets, and we can take it to phase two.”

Chris Powell