2017 Winners

SickKids VS

SickKids Foundation

Silver Media Agency of the Year: OMD Canada

The Goal

SickKids vs. the biggest fundraising campaign in Canadian history.

To continue to provide the level of care Toronto, Canada and the world expects, SickKids needs to raise $1.6 billion to build a new clinical hospital of the future.

Simply put, modern medicine cannot be practiced in a building from 1949. With a rapidly growing population, a hospital operating at overcapacity and an aging building, SickKids found itself ill-equipped to continue to offer the cutting-edge medicine that has granted it a spot as one of the top children’s hospitals in the world.

Target: Broaden the appeal and expand the team.

Many people don’t realize that SickKids relies heavily on private donations to help the hospital provide extremely complex care for the most vulnerable members of our society. SickKids needed more people to see the incredible work it does today, and understand the potential of what it still can do.

The campaign was designed to plead to the current base of donors, while significantly growing the brand’s philanthropic support from the community, and recruiting a new and younger generation of passionate donors.

Insight and Strategy

Fundraising is typically a category of tears and sadness. Rather than just talk about the need, agency OMD Canada wanted to inspire people with SickKids’ progress and vision and bring the city into the story to create a rallying cry.

SickKids needed to start acting like a performance brand and evoke the same passion, determination and fierceness of a sports team and its fans, and jolt those sitting on the sidelines into joining the fight.

The Plan

Media is the message, and the strategy was to act big and bold like a sports team. The brand wanted the only conversation the day after launch to be about the new “SickKids VS” platform.

To set the tone and start the “VS” wave across the city, the team launched the 90-second anthem spot at the Leafs home opener. The spot aired in the broadcast, as well as on the jumbotron at the Air Canada Centre, surrounded by fans and in-arena “VS” messaging.

Overnight the team blanketed the city with OOH ads, taking over Yonge-Dundas Square, the Eaton Centre and the streets with digital TSA’s and wrapped streetcars featuring the campaign’s heroes – the kids.

The passion was infectious, and the team used this to tirelessly negotiate $4.5 million in bonus and added value media weight.

Not relying just on paid, they strategically incorporated an earned strategy into their paid media plans with a holistic YouTube and social plan designed to maximize organic reach and video views.

To harness the power of SickKids’ advocates, the brand took to Twitter with the conversational ad allowing people to customize their “VS” message and fight. In their tweets, people chose their fight while sharing the video and starting the #SickKidsVS conversation on social.

All the conversation and engagements fueled the “data brain” that became the sophisticated prospecting engine designed to drive conversion (donations). By taking this approach and syncing the brand and direct response efforts together, the team increased online revenue by 695% compared to one year ago.

The Results

The “VS” platform resonated and shook people out of apathy, becoming the most successful campaign in SickKids’ 143-year history, raising more than $55 million in just three months.

The Twitter conversational execution earned a spot as one of the top Twitter campaigns globally. It reached the top spot on Twitter Canada, generating more than 500,000 video views of the two-minute anthem spot and more than 100,000 retweets of #SickKidsVS (so many the team had to remove @SickKids in the tweet as the community manager could not keep up to volume).

Digitally the video was seen and shared in more than 15 countries, reaching eighth on YouTube. Shared so much, the team turned off amplification and redirected the funds to fundraising efforts.

Not only did the team manage to recruit new donors (specifically the younger and male donors they lacked), but they also increased the average donation amount by 63%.