CASSIES Bronze: SickKids puts the spotlight on patients

The hospital's campaign had a big impact during the crucial holiday season.

This story appears in the February/March 2016 issue of strategy.

Bronze: Events, Seasonal and Short-Term

Situation Analysis:

SickKids is Canada’s leading children’s hospital, seeing more than 100,000 kids enter its doors annually for life-saving care, a number that continues to grow. Historically, funds raised during the holiday season amounted to approximately one-quarter of the hospital’s annual fiscal target. The 2014 holiday season target was to match the previous year’s record total of $31.6 million.

Insight & Strategy:

The best SickKids campaigns had demonstrated the leadership and excellence of SickKids and captured the indomitable spirit of the children, while also creating a sense of urgency and demonstrating the impact of donations. But, during the busy holiday season, people were not thinking about the life-and-death battles that are being waged at SickKids. It needed to be made real for them at a time when their minds were elsewhere.


Launched in November 2014 in the GTA and supported by a budget of $1 to $2 million, “Better Tomorrows” gave an unprecedented behind-the-scenes, real-time look into SickKids. Featured across television, print, online banners, OOH, SEO/SEM, a microsite and social, media placements, coordinated in real-time, told a story featuring a new patient each day for 45 days, collectively depicting all the services provided, from critical care to therapeutic programs.


“Better Tomorrows” surpassed the 2013 holiday season benchmark by 17%, achieving a record-high donation amount of $37 million. The campaign also increased propensity to donate by 13% amongst GTA residents who recalled seeing it.

Cause & Effect:

“Better Tomorrows” achieved 562,461 total views during the campaign period, 125% over objective and garnered 8,000 new Facebook followers (7% lift) and over 58,000 total shares, likes and comments. The webpage was viewed 1.3 million times (164% over objective).


Client: SickKids Foundation

President & CEO: Ted Garrard

VP, brand strategy and communications: Lori Davison

Project manager, brand strategy & communications: Harleen Bhogal

Manager, patient ambassador program: Lisa Charendoff

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Chief creative & integration officer: Brent Choi

SVP, CD: Ryan Spelliscy

ACD: Andy Brokenshire

AD: Cindy Habana

CW: Mike DeCandido

Senior producer: Raquel Rose

VP, management director: Neil MacLellan

Account executive: Sarah Leveille

Director: Mark Zibert

Production company: Sons & Daughters

Post-production: Panic & Bob, Alter Ego, Smith

Editing: Michelle Czukar

Music: Eggplant (Adam Damelin)

Media agency: Mindshare