A day in the life at SickKids

The foundation is producing 45 different TV spots as part of this year's holiday campaign.

With a range of work being done at the Hospital for Sick Children that would be impossible to show through a single video, the SickKids Foundation has embarked on showing it through 45 different spots that highlight different stories of real patients that have had their lives touched by the hospital.

Starting last Friday and running until Dec. 22, a different 30-second spot will air on TV every day. Each one highlights a unique story of what happens in a 24-hour period at SickKids, from the heart-wrenching to the heart-warming, marked with the “make their tomorrow as good as your today” tagline. Although each ad runs for one day only across the television channels airing them, the spots will are all being collected on a dedicated microsite as they air. The site also features statistics, meant to put numbers behind the stories that show the work SickKids does and how public donations are vital to it.

David Estok, VP of brand marketing and communications at SickKids Foundation says the foundation and creative partner JWT are also exploring the idea of producing a longer piece with a more developed narrative. Mindshare handled the media buy on the campaign.

“The key aim is that we wanted to do something that would juxtapose with what was going on in [the consumer's] life,” Estok says. “If you’re having a bad day, you might see one of these and realize someone who is three years old has cancer and is having surgery today.”

“Over the course of 45 days, we can convey a wide variety of emotions,” he says. “We can’t give everyone a tour of the hospital, but on any given day, every single day, there are pretty amazing things going on. So this is an attempt to peel back the curtain in the operating room, the clinics and the families.”

The campaign also features a heavier social media focus than in the past with the #Giveaday hashtag, which plays on the tagline of the ads by encouraging people to give up something they cherish in a day – from coffee to a round of golf – and donating the money that would go to that to the foundation.

As with many philanthropic organizations, SickKids’ holiday push is its most important, as donations from this time of year represents roughly 25% of the foundation’s annual budget, according to Estok. He says 75% of the foundation’s annual marketing budget is put towards its holiday campaign, adding that they are able to stretch the budget by getting media space donated. The foundation is on its way to matching the 3:1 ratio (one dollar donated for every three spent) it met last year.