A new ad for Canadian children’s hospital SickKids Foundation takes a bold approach. Instead of telling stories from the hospital in a sober, emotional tone, it presents the children in a slick style more akin to a Nike spot: showing them as gladiators, knights and superheroes engaged in a fight against illness.
According to director Mark Zibert, the striking approach was born out of spending time at the hospital. “A sombre, emotional tone is an effective approach to communicating the everyday at SickKids,” he says. “Where you can’t help but feel sorry, and rightfully so, for the children and families who deal with the incomprehensible on a daily basis.
“But spending weeks and months at the hospital sheds a different light altogether,” he continues. “There exist countless stories of unbounded strength and courage in the face of illness and death. It’s hard to describe in words. The film attempts to convey that side of their stories using a combination of metaphor and frenetic pace. Showing their defiance in the face of illness.”
The film features children who are all currently being treated at SickKids or have previously been patients, and doesn’t flinch from showing uncomfortable scenes of illness alongside the kids in character, with these moments rooting the ad in the real world. These harsher realities also continue in another spot, which features a cancer patient who appeared in a previous ad for the Foundation, but sadly went on to die.
CCOs: Carlos Moreno, Peter Ignazi
Creative directors: Craig McIntosh, Jaimes Zentil
Director: Mark Zibert
Production company: Skin and Bones Film Company