Who: BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, with One Twenty Three West for creative and strategy, Revolver for production (directed by Scott Cudmore), post-production by Fort York, School Editing and Alter Ego, and audio by Grayson Music Group, media by OMD Vancouver.
What: “I’ll be home,” a new holiday fundraising campaign for the Vancouver hospital on its “Small is Mighty” platform launched last year.
When & Where: The campaign launched Nov. 1, running across the province on TV, as online video, along with digital/social, radio and out of home.
Why: BCCHF introduced the “Small is Mighty” platform this time last year, with its double-meaning referring to the strength of the young children being treated at the hospital, and the important difference that even small donations can make.
“People want to help, but get discouraged, believing they can’t make a real impact,” said creative director Rob Sweetman, at the time. “’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.”
This new campaign looks to build on the momentum established last year, while restating the core message at the heart of the platform, “never doubt what small can do,” said Surina Sproul, BCCHF’s vice-president, brand strategy, in a release.
“Kids at the hospital are often facing the unthinkable. But in the face of their reality, they are more tenacious and resilient than we give them credit for on their journey to get back home,” she said.
“The campaign hopes to inspire the same spirit in donors—support for the hospital’s efforts accelerates the pace of medical advancements and breakthroughs—which ultimately means more children not only get the chance to go home, but sooner.”
How: The campaign is built around an anthemic 60-second spot that shows young patients at the hospital trying to get home for Christmas. The spot, which includes some real patients at BCCHF, shows the kids staring down unending hallways, and trudging through snowy rooms which, according to the agency, “represent their internal struggles and imaginations.”
“The hopefulness [of the spot] comes from the kids themselves,” Marie Cermakova, associate creative director at One Twenty Three West told The Message. “They might be facing the unthinkable, but when you meet them and their families, you realize how strong and tenacious they are. They’re small, but they’re not victims; they’re powerful. And in that power there’s always hope. That’s the story we’re trying to tell.”
The music: The ad is soundtracked by a haunting rendition of the holiday song “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Originally written about WWII soldiers dreaming of being home for the holidays, this new version (produced by Grayson) is performed by a young child.
“The challenge was to transform a sweet and melancholy classic holiday song into an anthem of strength and resilience,” said Mark Domitric, music director at Grayson. “Recording the perfect vocal performance was key for this project. It had to strike the perfect arresting tone, and be sung in an unpolished, earnest way. It needed to contain a certain level of intimacy, like the feeling of a child singing to themselves, but also to capture the determination and grittiness of the spot.”