Sunnybrook Foundation gets cerebral to fund a new facility

The final push to build the Garry Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre focuses on how its work will impact "everyone with a brain."

It’s almost a no-brainer.

The Sunnybrook Foundation is positioning its latest campaign effort, the final push to build its Garry Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre, as “For Everyone with a Brain.”

Once complete, the Centre will be a state-of-the-art facility for patient care and interdisciplinary research across a range of brain and mental health disorders, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias, stroke, ALS, mood and anxiety disorders, and others.

The spot leading the push highlights a youngster experiencing anxiety, a woman having a stroke and, in one instance, the spouse of a partner with dementia, finding a hat misplaced in her fridge.

“We wanted to focus on the importance and the impact of this Centre,” says Christina Topp, VP of marketing and community engagement at Sunnybrook Foundation, adding that brain disorders and diseases are on the rise and impacting more people – both those fighting diseases themselves and the friends and loved ones in their support systems.

In Canada, one in three people will experience a brain disorder in their lifetime, and one in five will experience a mental illness or addiction concern, so it’s a concern that hits close to home. Rather than being too earnest and technical, Topp says she wants the latest spot to showcase what the Centre will focus on, and driving a more emotional connection. “For Everyone with a Brain” will be a longstanding positioning even after the Centre is built, Topp explains.

To date, fundraising for the new Centre has been a collective effort across Sunnybrook, the Government of Ontario and donors, and catalyzed by founding donor Garry Hurvitz, with a lead gift of $20 million in 2014. Since then, it has received $70 million more in support, matched with a contribution of up to $60 million by the Government of Ontario in 2019.

She tells strategy it’s in its final fundraising push, timed to coincide with the upcoming Brain Awareness Week in the middle of March.

The campaign was created by longstanding agency partner No Fixed Address, and for the first time in the organization’s history, it is opting for using connected TV in the buy, as that’s where people are during lockdowns. The campaign is going to be amplified through digital, OOH, print and all of Sunnybrook’s owned channels. The digital media buy is being supported by Data Sciences.

This is the first significant campaign it’s come out with in two years, a “critical priority” for the hospital and Canadians, Topp says.