BC Lung Foundation launches awareness campaign

Who: The BC Lung Foundation, with Spring for strategy and creative.

What: “Stop Childhood Asthma From Stopping Childhood,” a campaign to raise awareness of the organization and a new education program called the Asthma Education Centre.

When & Where:The campaign debuted late last year, running across Lamar Advertising’s transit advertising options across the province, including trolley wraps, interiors, and SkyTrain stations throughout Vancouver.

One of the organization’s requests was that the ads not appear on traditional buses, said John Morton, director of marketing and communications at the BC Lung Foundation. “I thought the message would be all wrong if [the ads] were on a bus belching exhaust fumes,” he said. “So I specified in the media buy that we only get electric trolley buses.”

Why: More than 100,000 kids in B.C. have asthma, and that number is rising, said Morton, who attributed the increase to better diagnoses by doctors as well as a rise in air pollution.

The campaign’s primary objective is to raise consumer awareness of the Asthma Education Centre, which is offering both in-person and virtual asthma management education for kids across the province.

According to Morton, research shows that kids who are better educated about the disease (how to recognize the onset of an attack, what to do when an attack occurs, and how to mitigate risk) tend to miss fewer days of school, and have generally better health outcomes.

How: The creative uses a Venn Diagram approach to show the razor-thin line that exists between a routine day and the need for emergency healthcare for children living with asthma, and how understanding asthma can help prevent that routine day from becoming a bad day. The three executions feature phrases hinging around key words, such as “Family movie (night) at the hospital,” “Hit a home (run) out of breath,” and “Weekend (trip) to the ER.”

The creative approach won out over dozens of ideas put forward by Spring, said Morton, a former account executive with agency networks including McCann and Grey before pivoting to client side with organizations including the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University,. and BC Children’s hospital.

“I wanted it to be colloquial, thought-provoking, and just a little bit edgy,” he said, of the new campaign. “This [approach] really sang because I love the wordplay.”

And we quote: “[The ads] perfectly illustrate what the life of a kid with asthma is like, versus other kids. I like the compare and contrast, and doing it in a thought-provoking, intelligent and hopefully approachable way.” — John Morton, director of marketing and communications, BC Lung Foundation

Chris Powell