A raw and gritty new video campaign called VS is erasing the image of weak, helpless, sick children and replacing it with images of the fierce battle they face every day. The foundation arm of SickKids hospital, the group behind the video, decided to flip the script on the idea of giving money to help suffering children and instead produce something more powerful: children seen as fierce warriors literally battling their illnesses and injuries.
In less than two minutes, this video’s childlike quality mixes fantasy and reality, using imagery kids can relate to: knights and warriors in battle and boxers in a ring. The last is appropriate because the video doesn’t pull any punches in portraying the real life-or-death fight that some kids face.
The video also includes kids losing that fight and parents weeping in grief, but the young patients featured in the scenes said that they love being seen as strong and aggressive. The idea is that even kids who lose their battle continue to fight by donating their bodies to science to help find cures to eventually beat the common enemy.
“We’re looking to transform SickKids from a cause brand to a performance brand.”
Cossette Ad Agency
The foundation told The Globe and Mail that after traditional videos gave them two highly successful years with their regular donor pool (raising $75 million in 2014 and 2015), this video campaign was an effort to reach a new group of donors.
In agency speak, Jay Chaney creative director at Cossette, the ad agency behind the video, says it is a move to change the position from donating to help fight childhood illnesses and injuries from a “cause” that you support to a performance brand. SickKids will release three videos and put up posters in its hometown of Toronto.
The VS video proclaims that sick is not weak; sick fights back.” The pounding beat of Donnie Daydream’s song “Undeniable” drives the images of kids fighting illnesses and injuries into the mind like a battle cry. If the video is supposed to empower us by this bravery, well, then color us empowered! Where is that donate button?