SickKids creates a “Brave List” to support its gifting program

The hospital puts a twist on the nice list to drive donors to give more specific and much-needed holiday contributions.

SickKids is reimagining Santa’s book of who’s been naughty and nice as a list of patients who are showing extreme bravery, and equally deserving of gifts through the hospital’s Give Better Gifts program.

New holiday creative opens on the wind blowing away pages from the good-and-bad-deeds-tome, then cuts to a child burning the ledger. The hero spot then shows the reality of what some families are facing, with children being rushed to ER or pulling off wigs as they “face the unimaginable.”

At the coda, the names of SickKids patients on a “Brave List” are revealed, a concept that will be amplified through the hospital’s OOH campaign, projected onto the large chimney of The Boiler House in Toronto’s Distillery District during its winter market.

Jaimes Zentil is ECD, at Cossette, the agency that created the campaign, says the concept of “naughty and nice” is a familiar one that gave the shop a good creative base to tell donors about kids who, rather than being able to spend time with their loved ones at home, are stuck in a hospital. He describes it as is another twist it has been able to add since the inauguration of SickKids‘ VS platform.

“We’ve always had the intention to be able to tell a variation in story, variation in tone and emotion, to convey individual campaign messages,” Zentil says, adding that “The Brave List” is a bit closer to the original VS. feel, focused on strength and resilience that families strive to have in what can be a difficult time of year.

Vanessa Teall, director of product marketing, lottery and gaming for the SickKids Foundation, is hoping the magical and whimsical creative storytelling will drive support for its Get Better Gifts Program.

Get Better Gifts are donations towards programs and designated funds in support of SickKids and its families, such as covering expenses like gas, hotel and meals for parents who live outside Toronto.

Since Get Better Gifts’ infancy 11 years ago, Teall says it has resonated with consumers as they’re able to directly and very specifically help those in need by taking a typical “donation” and packaging it as an experience with measurable impact.

“Monthly donation is a key pillar in the Foundation and how we want donors to support the organization, and Get Better Gifts is a complement to that,” Teall says.


In addition to the Distillery District activation and the “Brave List” TV spot and cutdowns, the SickKids Foundation is deploying online videos that more directly demonstrate how Get Better Gifts support patients and families.

There’s also a print catalogue to drive people to buy Get Better Gifts, email to create a smooth integration with the catalogue and mass elements of the campaign, a mix of paid and organic social media that leverages patient stories and targeted digital display to reach relevant audiences.

The campaign runs until Dec. 24, with OMD leading on media and Citizen Relations leading campaign PR.