The Battle for Time - Week of October 9

October 17, 2016 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai, Content Editor

A typical hospital spot consists of slow-motion video, plenty of tears and Sarah McLachlan’s Angel.

Not this one. Not by a long shot.

Created for SickKids Foundation by Toronto agency Cossette, “VS” is the hospital’s new campaign.

As you just saw and heard, it features none of the aforementioned approach. It shatters misconceptions (literally). It amps viewers up with a rap song, not a ballad. It shows children smearing war paint onto their cheeks, not children looking helpless.

SickKids changed what “sick” means. And sick is not weak.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s why:

1. The spot is totally different than anything the hospital has done before, let alone any hospital.

We’ve already been through what the usual hospital campaign looks like.

Usually this topic is treated delicately. The spots are played safe by going for tears and sadness – honestly speaking, they aim to guilt trip people into donating.

Not this ad.

Sure, our minutes are spent and now our wallets are flying open, but we did so because this ad stirred us into action. With the hard-hitting beat, dialysis machines getting smashed, laser beams and tiger roars, we felt inspired not full of pity.

And if you think of it, those other very slow and sad ads always seem to center around sadness and loss.

These children are losing the battle and they need your help. These children are losing hope.

Well, Cossette and SickKids refused to be the same as everyone else.

They went for different so that their work and the kids who benefit from their work are celebrated, not just pitied. 

2. It took a basic concept and word and changed its definition through stunning imagery and storytelling.

Ok so first off, there’s this:

Does this scream sick?

Well, maybe it does, but not in the way of “sick” being equated with “not capable” or “weak.”

The children who are at SickKids are definitely in a fight. But it doesn’t have to exist in the doom and gloom concept.

Every aspect of this video was crafted for a reason.

The quick frames? That kind of speed gets people excited.

The image associations (IE: the battle scene)? Yup, those were used to influence the types of feelings people get when they watch it.

The kids weight training? It goes to show just how much they can do.

Everything about the video was picked with the highest degree of strategy and thought. There’s no room here for misunderstanding. 

3. Most importantly, it gives the children and their families hope.

We reiterate: this is the most important point of this video. For anyone who has experienced what these children and their families are currently going through, they know that hope is what can change everything.

A terminal diagnosis, countless rounds of medication, time spent in the ICU: it’s all incredibly hard and earth shattering. And that’s putting it lightly.

Framing this spot in a way that encourages positivity and braveness while also changing the definition of “sick,” gives people a reason to believe.

Having the opportunity to believe in something better propels people forward.

After all, if we don’t have hope, what do we have?

A huge round of applause and big congratulations to Cossette and SickKids Foundation. You’ve just raised the bar ten fold.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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The Battle for Time - Week of October 9.