Sunnybrook shows why it’s a special place

Who: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) with Public Inc. for creative and strategy; RSA and Suneeva for production; Anchous Editing for post-production, Pirate Sound, Massive Music BV and Composer Auke Riemersma for audio; DAX for radio advertising; and Spark Foundry for media.

What:This Place is Special,” an awareness campaign differentiating Sunnybrook from competing Toronto hospitals. The work is the first by Public Inc, which was enlisted to refresh the brand’s strategy last November and kept on to execute the creative campaign. 

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, including digital video and audio, radio, out-of-home, and in-hospital executions.

Why: Sunnybrook is recognized globally but in the crowded landscape of Toronto’s health sector, the institution finds that many locals are unaware of the work that takes place at its three campuses. Sunnybrook seeks to rectify this by raising awareness of the technology, research and care models that set it apart from other organizations. 

“Spreading the word about what takes place here is imperative to attracting support to fuel our work,” said Sunnybrook’s CEO Andy Smith, in a release.

How (the strategy): Public Inc. conducted extensive research of Sunnybrook and its operations, including discussions with patients, donors and staff. Using the findings to establish the organization’s stand out offerings, the agency concluded with a unique value proposition: “In your toughest moments, Sunnybrook is the place to be.” 

It was inspired by a sentiment the agency heard repeatedly during the research phase, said Public Inc’s CCO Jill Applebaum, articulating it as there’s just something special about Sunnybrook.” The agency chose to centre the campaign around the idea of Sunnybrook being a special place, and worked closely with Sunnybrook to find the best ways to bring that idea to life, said Applebaum. “Together, we were able to navigate a complex organization and uncover the most interesting and compelling stories,” she said. 

How (the creative): The agency sought to bring that “special” feeling to life, in a 60-second spot—the first created by Applebaum and creative directors Heather Apple and Erin Stevens since joining Public Inc this summer.

The ad takes the viewer on a narrated, first-person journey through Sunnybrook, starting from an aerial view of the hospital that zooms into the rooftop helipad, before transitioning inside, where the viewer encounters specialized sections of the hospital, technologies, unique patients and several real-life staff members.

The narrator concludes the tour by stating “This space is special, just like you” and the super redirects to a Sunnybrook landing page where viewers are encouraged to share their email to both receive and share their own story of a special experience at Sunnybrook.

If the video reminds you of the whimsical worlds of a certain famous director, you’re not wrong. “Wes Anderson was an influence for us,” confirmed Applebaum. “He uses storytelling, framing, supers, and other filming techniques to both humanize and celebrate his subjects. Every shot is well thought out and ‘special’.” 

Do you anticipate future Sunnybrook creative to be similar? “We hope the work continues to capture the place and the people both authentically and artistically. We want to build brand equity so that the word ‘special’ and all it encompasses is everyone’s first thought when they hear ‘Sunnybrook’,” said Applebaum.

Emma Johnston-Wheeler