SHN is trying to close a massive gap in donations to Scarborough hospitals

A big integrated campaign looks to change the fact that despite making up a quarter of Toronto's population, the area's hospitals get only 1% of charitable giving.

Scarborough Health Network

Sometimes Scarborough doesn’t get much love from the rest of Toronto, but the Scarborough Health Network Foundation (SHN) is trying to change that and address a major hospital donation discrepancy.

The organization, which includes hospitals Scarborough General, Birchmount and Centenary, is launching an integrated campaign of historic size, worth an ad dollar equivalent of just under $4 million.

Called “Love, Scarborough,” campaign is an open letter from Scarborough to the rest of the Greater Toronto Area, imploring it to help even the playing field. The spot draws attention to things like the region’s diversity, pointing out that while it is a major destination for immigration, “the newest Canadians are [being treated] in the oldest hospitals.” Or, the fact that despite representing a quarter of Toronto’s population, Scarborough only attracts 1% of donations.

These are delivered through the fabric of the city: written out in chalk on a sidewalk, posters on a telephone poll or – bringing its plea to the rest of the city – through the billboards at Yonge Dundas Square.

Noah Feferman, group CD at Ogilvy Toronto, which created the campaign, says the health care funding gap is striking, especially when you “realize it’s largely new Canadians and people with lower household incomes who are getting the short end of the stick.”

Scarborough Health Network2

“The campaign is both about raising awareness and money for the Scarborough Health Network” says Alicia Vandermeer, president and CEO of the five-year-old SHN Foundation. The goal is to raise $100 million in funds to help close the healthcare gap, supported by ads in TV, cinema, print, radio, and online. The new year launch was timed is to stand out from all the charitable giving campaigns that run leading up to the holidays.

Scarborough Health Network3A challenge, Vandermeer says, is not just that charitable giving is down overall across organizations, but that Scarborough is not a wealthy community. And SHN, she says, is aiming to secure donations from the business community and donors across the GTA who believe Toronto is only as strong as its individual parts. That could also be from people who commute from Scarborough, or people who have fond memories of growing up in the borough but have since moved elsewhere.

Vandermeer tells strategy that prior to the broader campaign launch, SHN secured print sponsorships from the Toronto Star and Globe & Mail, a media format that still resonates with its older donor target. Mediacom is handling planning for the campaign.

“We were not yet in other media, and got a lot of feedback from people who saw the ads…confirming the importance of print in this campaign,” she adds.

On the LoveScarborough microsite, there are 26 stories about healthcare in Scarborough from doctors, patients, families and other residents, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each of those letters are part of a typeface created from the handwriting of the people featured in the campaign; SHN is inviting people to submit their own message about Scarborough, written out in the font, to potentially be shared in the campaign going forward..

SHN Foundation and Ogilvy worked with Revolver Films, School Editing, SNDWRX, Alter Ego and Fort York on the campaign video. OPC and Undivided worked on social and OOH, while the designers at Liiift Studios developed the “Scarborough Sans” font used in the campaign.