Creative Report Card 2022: Behind every great idea is a great backstory

In their own words, Canada's top creatives share what went into campaigns that won big.

Top CampaignsThis week, we are taking deeper looks at what got the country’s top creatives, strategists, agencies and brands to the top of the 2022 Creative Report Card. Check out the full coverage here.

Today, we’re looking at the campaigns that stole the show at so many, well, shows. The campaigns below, from Rethink, FCB and Cossette, helped brands Kraft Heinz, CDSS, SickKids and IKEA land in the top five (with Unilever taking the top spot for its Dove work).

We asked the CRC’s top creatives to pull back the curtain, and share how their ideas came together and any hurdles and hiccups that came up during execution.

IKEA “Our Little World”

The Idea: IKEA’s “Our Little World” encouraged people to create a big impact through small eco-friendly acts at home.

The Backstory: “During lockdown, our homes became more than just homes. They became our schools, gyms, offices, restaurants. That gave birth to the idea of showing how our homes had become little worlds, all floating around each other. Like with any CGI heavy project the biggest hurdle was the process. It required imagination, trust and a few leaps of faith. We started with a really thorough pre-vis, which almost felt like we were locked into an edit before we’d even done the shoot. Being prepared in advance made us confident and creative during the complex shoot and post-production.” – Rethink’s Joel Holtby, Hayley Hinkley and Jacquelyn Parent

IKEA “Scrapsbook”

The Idea: IKEA’s “Scrapbook” showed how to use food scraps to create meals and built on the brand’s eco ambitions.

The Backstory: “Putting the cookbook [which showed recipes using scraps of food] together with 10 chefs across the continent meant a lot of elaborate coordinating to make it all work, and a lot of time spent on Zoom wishing you could taste what you were seeing. The IKEA client saw this idea on one slide in the back of a deck as a bonus, and immediately said, ‘I love it, let’s make it great.’” – Rethink’s Justin Santelli 

IKEA “Don’t Wake the Baby”

The Idea: IKEA’s “Don’t Wake The Baby” replaced loud ads during baby-lulling playlists on Spotify with quiet commercials from the retailer.

The Backstory: “This idea was inspired by a real-life baby. As a new parent, I discovered the magic of white noise for keeping babies asleep, and then dad-brain switched to ad-brain. I brought my sleep-deprived insight to Charmaine, and the idea was (also) born. The concept for these spots was to make audio quiet, which meant we had to find the sweet spot between whispery and creepy for our voice talent. He nailed it. The only other snag was my attempt at presenting the idea to client in “Swedish voice.” – Rethink’s Evan Kane and Charmaine Cheng

SickKids “VS Hard Days”

The Idea: “SickKids VS Hard Days” shared stories of moms coping with looking after a sick child at home.

The Backstory: “The pandemic made it impossible to film real SickKids parents and their immunocompromised children. To keep the story as authentic as possible, we interviewed 10 moms remotely about their daily struggles and challenges. On one call, we were interviewing a mom who was taking care of her son with an undiagnosed illness. During the interview, she would have to stop to tend to her child as he threw up off camera. However, she really wanted to tell her story and pressed on. Stories like these were eye-opening and made this film so real and visceral.” – Cossette’s Kyle Lamb

SickKids “This Is Why”

The Idea: SickKids “This is Why” zeroed in on why its hospital needs more space, showing 40 child patients as they fight for the lives.

The Backstory: “While working in the hospital during production, we’d get chills every time a Code Blue (cardiac arrest) was announced over the loudspeaker. It would sometimes be 5-10 times a day. Imagine hearing that as a parent with a child in the hospital. To capture that feeling, Mark Zibert and his team were embedded in the hospital like war photographers. Some of the footage was too emotionally intense and we pared it back in the edit so as to not make it feel scary for the viewers.” – Cossette’s Jake Bundock

CDSS “Mindsets”

The Idea: CDSS’ “Mindsets” saw those with Down syndrome participate in a study on how exercise improves cognitive function.

The Backstory: “We had the idea, but no clue how to pull it off. We don’t have people at the agency with experience running global research studies. But the team worked the problem from every angle, and we found a research partner in Dr. Dan Gordon, and partnered with the world’s first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman, as well as with BrainHQ to handle the brain training portion. Then, with the help of CDSS, we began recruiting participants to run the study.” – FCB’s Marty Hoefkes

CDSS “Project Understood”

The Idea: CDSS’ “Project Understood” set out to improve voice-recognition models by asking people with Down syndrome to donate their voices.

The Backstory: “We knew that voice technology didn’t work for the Down syndrome community, but the big challenge was finding the right voice company to partner with. We reached out to over a dozen companies, and still couldn’t find the right fit. Our CIO was aware of our struggles when he ran into a colleague at Google who coincidentally had atypical speech. They discussed the project, and the next week, we were put in touch with a team at Google, who we still work with today.” – FCB’s Michael Morelli

Kraft Heinz “Draw Ketchup”

The Idea: Heinz “Draw Ketchup” asked people to draw the first thing that came to mind when they thought of the red sauce.

The Backstory: “If you ask someone to draw ketchup, odds are they’re going to draw Heinz. 18 countries and 100s of drawings later, that proved to be true. (One guy drew mustard. We didn’t have the heart to stop him.) We worked with participants from all over the world, and we couldn’t let them know they were in a Heinz commercial. We were lucky to have an amazing client who was eager to bring this idea to life from billboards to hand-drawn labels on bottles in store.” – Rethink’s Zach Bautista and Geoff Baillie