BC Children’s Hospital Foundation launches a ‘mighty’ plea for donors

Who: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, with One Twenty Three West for strategy and creative, OMD Canada for media.

What: “Small is Mighty,” a new brand platform and donor campaign that comes as the fundraising arm seeks to “dramatically grow” the hospital and research institute’s impact on rapidly advancing treatment, technology, and care.

When & Where: The campaign debuted on Nov. 14, running across TV, cinema, radio, out-of-home, print, direct mail and online as pre-roll, social. There are also in-hospital components including merchandise and patient swag. All of the advertising drives to a dedicated website, MakeUsMighty.ca.

Why: The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s fundraising efforts have traditionally under-indexed against adults 25-55, a segment that vice-president of marketing and communications Surina Sproul said possesses “huge potential and connection to the hospital.”

“We already have universal awareness and are a well-loved brand in BC—our work is to attract attention with a new approach that makes people feel awoken, needed, proud and hopeful, and provides the gateway for us to talk about some of the greatest challenges in children’s health,” said Sproul. “We believe that will increase likelihood to donate and rally more people to join our cause.”

BC Children’s Hospital provided care for more than 99,000 patients last year across its acute care centre, research institute, mental health facility and other facilities. It was ranked sixth on Newsweek‘s 2022 list of the world’s best specialized hospitals.

As the only hospital in the province dedicated to child care, it serves the largest geographic region of any children’s hospital in North America.

The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation received $88 million in donations last year, and the campaign’s overarching message is that every donation, no matter its size, contributes to transforming children’s health care.

“Social media constantly inundates us with crises and causes that need our support,” said One Twenty Three West executive creative director Rob Sweetman. “People want to help, but get discouraged, believing they can’t make a real impact. ‘Small is Mighty’ challenges that belief by saying, small is exactly what we need. Small can do amazing things. Every donor, every dollar, makes a difference.”

How: Inspired by real patient stories, the campaign’s nearly two-minute anchor video opens on a tilt-shift image of a helicopter landing on the hospital’s roof, before cutting to a girl speaking directly to camera as she is wheeled into the hospital.

“Never doubt what small can do,” she says defiantly, as the spot transitions to shots of children receiving care at the hospital—from physical and aqua-therapy, to a young girl being rushed into surgery after it’s discovered that a tumour is blocking her airway.

The medical paperwork that accompanies each patient’s situation coalesces into a monster that the kids fight back. “But small never gives up,”  the voiceover resumes. “Hope starts small, too, with ideas that grow and become really, really big.”

The goal is to show a different side of childhood illness, said Sproul, who described “Small But Mighty” as “a powerful testament of children’s strength and resiliency as they face the unthinkable, and it demonstrates how the seed of an idea, a spark of innovation, or the collective power of a single donation, could transform child health as we know it.”

And we quote: “In a world facing growing global challenges, children’s health often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. But we don’t have to look far to see the repercussions of not thinking ahead—more and more research tells us that many physical and mental illnesses in adulthood have their origins in childhood. Improving the health of kids will have a ripple effect for decades to come.” — Surina Sproul, vice-president of marketing and communications, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Chris Powell