Russell Goldsmith
Russell Goldsmith 25 July 2018
Categories Advertising, B2C, Content

Podcast - From Cannes Lions: Campaigns For Good

The final episode recorded at Cannes Lions 2018, featuring campaigns around charity and healthcare - Help Refugees, The Indian Association of Palliative Care and SickKids Foundation in Toronto


Part 1 – Josie Naughton, Help Refugees

Guest: Josie Naughton, Co-Founder, Help Refugees that support over 80 projects in 10 countries across Europe and the Middle East, having already helped more than 722,000 people, raising over £12m. 


Chatting with Josie Naughton

Josie explained that in 2015, over 1m people arrived in Europe [as refugees].  She said that everyone was seeing the awful images on the news of people on boats, sometimes drowning, but others living in awful conditions, and so she and some friends tried and raise £1000 to fund a van-load of resources, such as tents, shoes and sleeping bags, that they could take to Calais to give to some of the refugees.   However, within one week, they had raised £56,000, and having set up an Amazon wish list of those items, began to receive 7000 packages from Amazon each day.  They therefore recruited volunteers to help them but when they arrived in Calais, found 5000 people living in a field with no support – babies without nappies, people without shoes, no wash facilities, no food.  She therefore partnered with a local French Association, renting a warehouse and starting a volunteer programme, shelter building programme and distribution system and hen using their logistics and support skills, became an umbrella support team for lots of other organisations that began to provide support to the refugees.

Help Refugees soon started to support refugees in other areas and grass roots organisations that are setting up field hospitals, carrying out search and rescue, or providing distribution centres for tents and meals etc. 

Josie was in Cannes promoting a campaign that featured an animation called ‘The Journey’ by Majid Adin, an Iranian refugee and animator, who was actually living in the camp in Calais when Help Refugees started working there.  The video shows the journey of two unaccompanied children from their homes, to the boat to the camp.

Josie also talked about their #ChooseLove campaign, which started with a t-shirt design by Katharine Hamnett, but now, is also the campaign website, which is a shop that allows people to purchase real gifts for the refugees, such as life jackets and shoes. 

Part 2 - Praful Akali, Founder & MD, Medulla Communications and Pooran Isarsingh, Patient    

Starts at 16:23


Chatting with Pooran Isarsingh and Madulla’s Founder & MD, Praful Akali

Guests: Pooran Isarsingh, an 86 year-old terminally-ill patient from India, who together with a number of other people in a similar situation to her, has featured in an ad campaign called ‘Last Laugh’, where she and her fellow patients had to perform stand-up comedy telling jokes about their conditions. Also we were joined by Praful Akali, Founder & MD of Medulla, the healthcare agency from Mumbai in India responsible for creating the campaign for The Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC), that helps patients get comfortable with death.

Praful explained that in India, death is a taboo subject.  He said that IAPC has been working to promote palliative care for about 25 years, but if people don’t talk about death, they won’t talk about palliative care either, with access to it down to 1%.  They therefore felt the best way to get people to talk about death is to laugh about it.

Praful said that with this being a complex area, they never really knew if the project would work out, particularly having to train terminally-ill patients for six weeks, and in fact, two of the patients didn’t survive the time to take part in the video. They also never knew when those who did go on stage would even be able to perform.

Part 3 – Lori Davison, SicKKids

Interview starts at 25:44

Guest: Lori Davison, VP for Brand Strategy & Communications, SickKids Foundation

Campaign: ‘SickKids VS’, that has the aim of raising 1.3billion Canadian dollars by 2022 to help fund a major overhaul for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Lori spoke to us about why SickKids had to stop talking like a charity and instead acting like a performance brand.


Chatting with Lori Davison or SickKids Foundation

She explained that within the charitable sector, there is a familiar zone for advertising and communications that tends to tap into empathy, and specifically within children’s hospitals and child related causes.  She added that the tonality tends to be around nurturing, that is meant to tap into your heart strings and get you to reach into your wallet as a result.

However, Lori said that the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto is a world-renowned hospital, known for solving big problems in child health.  They therefore felt that there was a side of the story to tell that was more about the performance of the institution and the people on the frontline committing their lives every day to bring knowledge and expertise to bare to do everything they can to help the kids.  That story, she said, was around the will to win, which is what they decided to lean into with the SickKids VS campaign.

The long form version of the campaign is SickKids VS the greatest challenges in child health, which can lead to SickKids VS Cancer, SickKids VS Heart Disease, etc, and so they adopted the athletic tonality and imagery of a performance brand, as Lori described, the human spirit that is that part of that realm of marketing, and carried that through all aspects of the campaign.

Lori feels that the big challenge in their campaign when it comes to charitable giving is overcoming apathy and so she sees themselves as ‘waging war on inertia’ and by adopting this creative, they are challenging their audience to take action.

The aim of the shift in campaign was to bring in new donors to the charity, outside of their core target of 45+ women with children, as with such a huge financial target, Lori said they knew they wouldn’t reach it by telling the same audience what she already knew.  They therefore wanted to attract additional younger donors and more men too.  The campaign has been a success in bringing that audience in and in fact, Lori said that their growth in donations is coming from a younger and more male audience and they’ve actually seen higher donations from men, resulting in an increase in average donations too.  However, importantly, the person who likes the campaign the most is still their core audience of 45+ women, meaning they haven’t alienated them.

The campaign has even extended into merchandise, such as t-shirts, which Lori said has generated close to 200,000 Canadian dollars and in fact, at the time of our interview, the overall campaign had just reached the half way mark of it’s target, raising 650m Canadian dollars.

All previous shows are available at as well as SoundcloudiTunes Google Podcasts etc.  You can also join in the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, if you subscribe to the show on iTunes, please do give it a positive rating and review to help it up the charts!

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