Oct 2016 16

Some thoughts on the new SickKids campaign, and how an idea is able to change the world in more ways than selling you the next big thing from Company X.

I have had a long career in advertising. The in-vogue brands to work on come and go. The awards and accolades quickly become yesterday’s news the day after the award shows. The hot shops become the places that say they are ‘going to turn things around’. And media is always evolving.

But one thing I have noticed has always been true – there are always those that realize the power of what we do and wish we could apply it to something bigger than selling the next cool car, or the reformulated beer, or talking about a sale.

We have the power to inspire and change perception.

For months, a good friend of mine in the biz has been saying he can’t wait for me to see what they are doing on SickKids, the hospital here in Toronto that has devoted itself to the unique kind of care a sick child needs. Since 1875, they’ve been healing kids, losing kids, and giving hope to parents and the next ‘sick kid’ that unfortunately comes through their doors.

And this week, the campaign broke.

Sick isn’t weak.

I am floored. I can’t begin to say how inspiring and head-spinning this idea is. First and foremost, it flips the story from feeling badly for these kids and showing them as they truly are: WARRIORS. Fucking utterly brave and strong warriors who aren’t prepared for the adult world but are already fighting their greatest battle in their lives – to be healthy and stay alive. And ‘sick’ will not win. They are fighters. And they grow stronger while ‘sick’ will just keep getting challenged. The fight will never end. Sick just can’t win.

Much respect to the team on this. It is not an idea that would be an easy sell. And the execution is flawless. Feels. I am proud to say I know so many of the people that worked on this. You did it. You did what we all SAY we want to do. You are affecting lives with more than just telling people they need the next big thing in cars or cell phone plans.

And Andrew Hart at SickKids says the donations are flowing in.

Sick can’t win. And I am happy to say – it seems Cynicism – mine included – can’t, either.


AGENCY: Cossette
ECDs: Carlos Moreno, Peter Ignazi
CREATIVE TEAM: Craig MacIntosh, Jaimes Zentil
CLIENT: SickKids – Lori Davison, Andrew Hart
DIRECTOR: Mark Zibert