Together We Will

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term (SILVER)

Client Credits: SickKids Foundation

Agency Credits: JWT Canada


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):November 2013-January 2014
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: November 2013
Base Period as a Benchmark: Calendar 2013

a) Overall Assessment

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is a world-renowned children’s hospital and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health. Every year, more than 100,000 children come to SickKids for life-saving care and the number continues to grow. There is a need for continued support to help push the frontier of what is possible in care, research and learning.

The number of organizations competing for donor dollars is extensive, especially during the winter holiday season. While causes focusing on the wellbeing of children seem like they would have a natural share of heart, competition is fierce and SickKids’ reliance on community support is more critical than ever. 

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Success at SickKids is determined by the impact the hospital has on the health and well being of children. Donations are necessary in order to support these ongoing efforts. Consequently donations were a key objective in addition to a number of softer, engagement focused measures. Specifically, objectives were as follows:

  • Exceed 2012 holiday fundraising goal of $26.5 million
  • Exceed 54,000 video views
  • Exceed 137,383 visits to the campaign website and 4,469 store page views on the website (i.e. engage people to dive deeper into the stories)

c) Annual Media Budget
$500,000 - $1 million

d) Geographic Area

a) Analysis and Insight

SickKids hospital is dedicated to the well being of children. The SickKids family of doctors, researchers, nurses, therapeutic clowns, parents, siblings and many, many more focus each and every day on the children and making the impossible… possible. The impact of their actions is best summarized by the campaign tag line of ‘Together we will’ and the accompanying soundtrack of ‘You Got It’ by Roy Orbison. While this dedication is remarkable, it is the indomitable spirit of the children themselves that is truly inspiring.  Despite facing the most serious of health issues, the children remain brave and resilient, living each day with a smile on their face and a positive attitude. Maybe most importantly, they face each day with the optimism that every kid should posses.

Focusing on the children provided the opportunity to tell a deeper story about SickKids. Maybe most importantly, it provided the opportunity to tell an impact story that detailed the success made possible by donor engagement and support. Donations that in many cases, made the impossible… possible. Within the campaign we focused on the story of Antonio, a remarkable young boy that approached every hurdle with the spirit and determination of a superhero. Antonio’s story is ultimately one of success.

b) Communication Strategy

Based on the insight that every child at SickKids has amazing real-life powers that have the ability to inspire, a campaign was developed to engage current and new supporters, driving both awareness and donations.

We know that thousands of Canadians flock to movie theaters every day to watch movies about superheroes. What better place to remind them that real life superheroes don’t wear capes or have x-ray vision. Rather, they smile in the face of cancer. They battle through a weak heart even though they're only five years old. They find a way to be braver than their years should allow. The patients at SickKids are real superheroes.

Our idea played out like this: An unsuspecting audience watched a typical Hollywood trailer that narrated the “would-be” story of an imaginary superhero. Suddenly the true story of our real-life hero, Antonio, a young boy that kicked cancer in the butt, interrupted the trailer.

But the story didn’t stop there. Next, we revealed that Antonio was actually in the audience with his parents. He stood up and took a bow, as the audience cheered him on.  

What was unique and different about our approach was that we took a stunt and leveraged it to help us tell a bigger story. Rather than simply surprising Antonio with our real-life superhero trailer and stopping there, we asked parents of other SickKids children what makes their kid a real life hero. We then took it further and asked the world the same question through Twitter. Our approach allowed us to surprise, delight and reach people at an emotional level, motivating them to get involved and ideally make a donation. Most stunts are just that, stunts. Ours was a stunt with a purpose.

a) Media Used

  • National TV
  • Print (National Newspaper)
  • Online Banners
  • OOH (Cinema Advertising) 
  • Microsite
  • Social Media




b) Creative Discussion

The Avengers. Thor 2. Ironman 3. Hollywood sure loves celebrating superheroes. But isn't it time we celebrated some real-life superheroes? Superheroes like the patients at the Hospital for Sick Children (also known as SickKids) who battle life-threatening illnesses every day. So we did just that. With the use of a live feed and a cinema audience, we were able to surprise an entire cinema audience including moms, families and one very special boy… Antonio.

c) Media Discussion

SickKids maximized the media spend drawing on the strengths of each medium: YouTube pre-roll allowed greater reach and encouraged views; the Visible Measures player placed the Antonio video across multiple web properties and blogs targeting the primary audience;  search engine marketing drove qualified users to the website; digital banner ads broadened the campaign reach; out of home digital display drove further awareness; and a one-day Cineplex blitz featuring the Antonio video during the preshow created buzz and encouraged social chatter.


Path 1: Awareness – drive broad reach and overall awareness of the campaign 

Path 2: Action – drive traffic to campaign microsite to discover the story of the Kids

Path 3: Engagement – Drive deeper engagement and viral reach through social media 

a) Sales/Share Results

The campaign exceeded all of its KPIs during the campaign period:

  • The Antonio video received 299,024 views, achieving 128% of its goal and a 454% increase over the 2013 video views
  • Visits to the website achieved 172% of its goal
  • Story page views realized 128% of its goal


Other achievements include:

  • Revenue attributed to the campaign increased by 19.5% compared to the 2013 campaign.
  • The Antonio video achieved a completion rate for video views on the Visible Measures network of 45%, compared to the industry average of 22%
  • On Facebook, the Antonio post outperformed all other campaign posts, with engagement (likes, comments, shares) reaching a 198% increase over the average SickKids Facebook post.
  • There was a 12% lift in Facebook fans during the campaign period

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

This SickKids campaign caught the imagination of not only the public but also the media and some celebrities. CTV News Anchor and Journalist, Kevin Newman, for example, praised the campaign in a January 2014 news broadcast.  

Canadian singer and SickKids supporter, Avril Lavigne, helped spread the word of the campaign via Twitter when she shared the below tweet with her followers garnering over 1,800 retweets.


A few high profile individuals also retweeted directly from SickKids including Cheryl Hickey (Entertainment Tonight Canada), Nikki Yanofsky (Canadian singer best known for Vancouver Olympic’s theme song “I believe”), Craig Olejnik (Actor from TV show “The Listener”) and Scott Stratten  (ranked as one of top influencers in world on Twitter; author; President of Un-Marketing; speaker).

This campaign also provided the opportunity to expand the meaning of SickKids hero beyond the featured patient, Antonio. It provided us a platform for sharing stories and generating discussion about what a SickKids hero is. A prime example comes from one of the SickKids Facebook posts asking the SickKids Foundation community, “What makes a real life hero?”. That post alone opened a lot of discussion garnering 353 likes, 86 comments and 65 shares.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

Overall the budget for this campaign was a modest one. Although majority of the spend was on re-airing the same TV spot from the previous year, growth was all online with low cost for production.


Not applicable, as this was a fundraising campaign for a charitable organization.

Distribution Changes:

Not applicable.

Unusual Promotional Activity:

The creative nature of this campaign was in itself unusual and was the reason it drew the positive attention that it did.

Other Potential Causes:

Not applicable.