A premature arrival in Quebec bookstores

Who: Préma-Québec, with LG2 for strategy and creative; Gorditos for production (Nicolas Monette directing); Post-Moderne for post; Circonflex for sound and music; Touché for media.

What: “The 1.8-pound book,” an awareness campaign and fundraiser timed to coincide with World Prematurity Day on Nov. 17.

When & Where: The campaign is highlighted by a hardcover book containing illustrated stories about premature birth that is being sold at bookstores throughout the province. It weighs 1.8-pounds, which is the average weight of a very premature baby born at 24 weeks. It is being supported by an ad campaign that includes TV, print, out-of-home, and digital.

Why: The goal here is to raise awareness and funds for Préma-Quebec, with 100% of proceeds from sales of the book—which is selling for $34.95—going to the organization.

About 8% of all births in Quebec are premature, and Préma-Quebec, which was formed by a group of preemie parents in 2003, has a stated mission to improve the quality of life of premature children by offering psychological and financial support to their parents.

“The emotional weight of a premature birth is difficult to grasp until it’s experienced. The fragility of the tiny infant contrasts starkly with the weight of the ordeal the family and child face,” said Préma-Québec’s founder and executive director, Ginette Mantha in a release. “Préma-Québec had the incredible opportunity to work with the creators behind this work which will undoubtedly touch the hearts of Quebecers and, in so doing, further Préma-Québec’s mission.”

How: The book contains four lighthearted stories about premature births, written and illustrated by local writers and artists. Every aspect of the book is intended to convey the fragility of prematurity: A slipcover appears to swaddle the infant pictured on the cover, while the number of pages has been carefully calculated to ensure that each copy weighs exactly 1.8 pounds.

Each page of the book features an arrow graphic representing the circumference of a baby’s head from 24 weeks through to the end of a standard 40-week pregnancy, getting longer with each passing week. The final page of the book, coinciding with the 40th week of pregnancy, features the message “There you go. Our book has been delivered.”

“[H]olding a preterm child in your hands remains etched in your memory for a long time,” says an explanation of the book on the Préma-Québec website. “For those who have never experienced it, experiencing this fragility in a colourful way is an effective way to raise their awareness.”

LG2 has also set one of the book’s stories, “Flacon,” to sound and music, creating an eight-and-a-half minute video that is being shown on the web and in six neonatal departments throughout the province.

And we quote: “It’s not every day that you get the chance to work on a book, especially in a creative agency. The 1.8-pound book is a long-term project that required creativity from beginning to end. After a two-year collaboration with Préma-Québec, an organization with a noble and critical mission, it’s humbling to see the work of so many talented people with so much expertise in a small object that will do so much to raise awareness.” – Sarah-Maude Raymond, supervisor, account services, LG2


Chris Powell