SickKids connects storytelling with the bottom of the donor funnel

The hospital's holiday campaign shows how it has been increasingly combining brand-focused mass media with "laser-focused" digital conversion channels.
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SickKids is deploying a wide array of media to get its donors to support its gifting program this holiday season.

The “Brave List” campaign, created by Cossette, is anchored by a spot that reimagines the “naughty and nice” lists as a new list recognizing the bravery of patients and families that come through SickKids. It is driving would-be donors to the Get Better Gifts program, which sends designated funds in support of SickKids and its families, such as covering expenses like gas, hotel and meals for parents who live outside of Toronto.

The media buy by OMD features the spot, as well as 15- and 30-second cut downs, in TV and online video. There is also an on-the-ground activation at the annual holiday market in Toronto’s Distillery District, with names on the “Brave List” projected onto one of the neighbourhood’s iconic and prominent boiler chimneys.

The campaign also includes a print catalogue showing off the range of gifts, with an email push to create a smooth integration with the catalogue and mass elements of the campaign.

Also on the digital front, there’s a mix of paid and organic social media that focuses on specific patient stories, utilizing digital conversion best practices and targeted digital display to reach relevant audiences.

“It really continues to be a strong mix to have that conventional media work in conjunction with our digital and social channels,” says Roy Gruia, director of brand strategy and communications at the SickKids Foundation. “It’s really about that mass reach and awareness…and we’re able to get really laser-focused with a conversion strategy on digital and social to drive our consumers through that purchase funnel and get them to donate to the Get Better Gifts program.”

Vanessa Teall, director of product marketing, lottery and gaming for the SickKids Foundation, adds that she is “really excited about” how this campaign better connects highly targeted, conversion-focused ads at the bottom of the funnel and the more brand-focused storytelling seen in mass channels.

“The strength of this campaign lies in how we’ve married that storytelling with some of these cutdowns, creating a case for support before we drive to donation ask,” Teall says. The power of the SickKids brand, she adds, is compelling storytelling across channels, focused on amazing patients and families, and the organization continues to do that in an emotional way.

Using digital channels to convert donors is something SickKids has been leaning into more since the outset of the pandemic. Earlier this year, with help from The Aber Group, SickKids launched a virtual running event across Canada, collecting run registration data to build a look-alike audience through machine learning and AI, which then informed search, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Canadian Running magazine media buys.

The “Brave List” campaign runs until Dec. 24th, with Citizen Relations also supporting campaign PR.