Cannes 2021: Canadian work earns 11 nominations in Health and Wellness

Seven agencies landed on the shortlist, but the country was shut out from a competitive group of nominees vying for Pharma Lions.

Though a lot of things about Cannes Lions are different this year, one thing is staying the same: the first full day of the festival kicks off with the announcement of the work shortlisted for the Health and Wellness and Pharma Lions.

For the Health & Wellness Lions, Canada received 11 nominations. Cossette led the pack, picking up four shortlist mentions for SickKids’ “This Is Why,” a 2019 campaign that continued the fundraising push to build a new SickKids hospital by turning the focus back to more than 40 of the children that would be treated there in a dramatic spot (due to the cancellation of Cannes Lions last year, the criteria was changed for the 2021 edition of the festival to allow for entries that would have been eligible in 2020).

Cossette was also nominated for “SickKids Moms VS. Hard Days,” a campaign from earlier this year that took a “vlog”-style approach, inspired by communities of moms who share info and advice online, to show the ups and downs the mothers of SickKids patients go through during treatment. It was to promote the “Give Better Gifts” program ahead of Mother’s Day, which allows for people to buy a tangible, useful gift for a family currently going through treatment at SickKids.

No Fixed Address also picked up a nomination for its work with SickKids on the “SickKids Airbnb” campaign, which let people book a stay in a SickKids ICU to show them first-hand why a new hospital facility was so needed.

Rethink was nominated for “Lost Tapes of the 27 Club,” a campaign for Over The Bridge, a non-profit that aims to better support the mental health of those in the music industry. “The 27 Club” is a term for a group of musicians who all happened to die at the age of 27, including Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, John Morrison and Amy Winehouse. One thing that unites many members of the club is the fact that they all had mental health and addiction struggles, and died of things like suicide or drug overdose. For the campaign, Rethink used AI to imagine what songs these artists could have created if they were still with us, broadcasting them during a livestreamed event.

FCB/Six was nominated for “Publicly Traded,” which used search data for symptoms of STIs to create an imitation stock chart to visualize which ones were “rising” or “declining” – and if a particular one appeared to be on the rise, prices of Lifestyles condoms would dip, making it easier for people to protect themselves.

Juniper Park/TBWA landed on the shortlist for “Signal For Help,” a campaign for the Canadian Women’s Foundation responding to the troubling increase in rates of domestic violence during the pandemic. The agency created a hand signal that could be used during video calls to help people covertly let loved ones know they needed help, without drawing the attention of an abusive partner they are trapped at home with.

FCB Canada got a Health & Wellness shortlist mention for the “Project Understood” campaign for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, where the agency worked with Google to make the AI behind voice recognition software more inclusive of the speech patterns of people with Down syndrome.

Also on the shortlist is Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful”, a collaborative campaign between Ogilvy’s Toronto and London, England offices to create the campaign, which extended Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign to frontline workers in the early days of the pandemic, with close-up shots of faces covered in sweat and marked by PPE, casting them as signs of courage.

Both “Project Understood” and “Courage is Beautiful” are also on the shortlist for the highly competitive Titanium Lions.

Canadian work was not among the competitive group of only 49 campaigns shortlisted in the Pharma Lions, which showcases work from the highly-regulated Pharma sector. However, The Embassy Vancouver was among the partners that worked on “Sick Beats,” providing VFX work for Area 23 in New York for a vest that used the beats and vibrations from music to clear airways for kids with cystic fibrosis.

Winners in both the Health & Wellness and Pharma Lions will be announced during the first virtual awards gala on Monday morning.

Health & Wellness Lions (11)


SickKids Foundation, “SickKids Moms VS. Hard Days”
Film: Cinema, TV and Digital Film Content
Partners: Scouts Honour

SickKids Foundation, “SickKids VS. This Is Why”
Film Craft: Direction
Film Craft: Use of Music/Sound Design
Branded Content & Entertainment: Digital & Social
Branded Content & Entertainment: Film, TV & Online Film Content

Partners: Scouts Honour, Saints Editorial, OMD Canada, Alter Ego Sports, Pirate, The Vanity

FCB Canada

Canadian Down Syndrome Society/Google AI, “Project Understood”
Brand Experience & Activation
Partners: Fuel Content, Alter Ego, Grayson Music, Outsider Editorial, Glossy PR, Bliss Interactive


Lifestyles Condoms, “Publicly Traded”
Creative Data: Data Visualization
Partners: Married to Giants, Grayson Music, Wingman VFX, Theory Crew, Glossy PR

Juniper Park\TBWA

Canadian Women’s Foundation, “Signal For Help”
Digital: Social and Influencer

Ogilvy Toronto

Dove (Unilever), “Courage is Beautiful” (with Ogilvy London)
Film: Cinema, TV and Digital Film Content
Partners: Outsider Editorial, Big Sync Music, Kevin Sargent Music, SNDWRX, Tenthree Editing, Mindshare Canada

No Fixed Address

SickKids Foundation, “SickKids Airbnb”
Integrated Campaign


Over The Bridge, “Lost Tapes of the 27 Club”
Radio & Audio
Partners: Wave Productions, Old Man Canyon