Sunnybrook Hospital’s Powerful New Campaign Offers a Raw Glimpse of Reality

Sunnybrook Health Science Centre (Sunnybook Hospital) made headlines recently for its efficient response to last month’s tragic van attack in Toronto, when it went into “Code Orange” – an emergency code that signifies situation with mass casualties – and quickly sprang into action.

Sunnybrook’s biggest-ever code orange situation comes weeks after the hospital launched an unprecedented brand campaign that offers a real, raw, and powerful glimpse into daily life at Sunnybrook Hospital. If you have yet to check it out, it could easily be the most powerful thing you’ll see all week.

Centered on “the breathtaking stories of people at the frontlines of healthcare,” the hospital worked with two international renowned combat photographers and photojournalists, Ron Haviv and Christopher Morris, who have spent their careers capturing the front lines of war zones for publications like TIME magazine. The objective was to capture the unfiltered “front lines” of Sunnybrook, Canada’s largest trauma centre, through an immersive seven-day photo shoot at the hospital.

Complete with the hashtag #Bringustheimpossible, the campaign – developed in partnership with advertising agency No Fixed Address – is a powerful celebration of the team at Sunnybrook and the daily task they face to turn the ‘impossible’ into ‘I’m possible.’ It is brought to life through TV, print, digital, and social media. Featuring a 30-second montage of gritty photos, the video is accompanied by a voiceover: “Bring us Stage 4; bring us one pound, four ounces; bring us third-degree. Bring us your world turned upside down. Bring us your worst, and we’ll give you our best.” A website offers a more in-depth look at the moving stories that emerged from the campaign and highlights some of the hospital’s most innovative initiatives.

“Our goal in doing this is to bring awareness to the leadership role Sunnybrook plays in saving lives with innovation and inventing the future of health care,” says Pamela Ross, EVP and Chief Operating Officer, Sunnybrook Foundation. “For the past 70 years, Sunnybrook has pushed the limits of what is possible through the courage of our patients and staff. Showing this through a series of emotive and revealing images helps to give people a glimpse into the incredible work that takes place here every day.”

The images depict tough moments, hope, and bravery. Courage remains a central theme of the individual stories – from the courage of patients whose worlds have been turned upside down, to the courage of doctors and nurses to fight against the clock and often-unbeatable odds, and that of researchers who relentlessly search for answers to important problems. “Iconic photography such as this, speaks volumes and conveys stories that are sometimes challenging to tell,” says Ross. “These photographs are artwork that illustrate for people what human compassion and hope look like. I think the campaign is something special that will inspire our staff, patients and the many communities Sunnybrook serves.”

The campaign is designed to both raise awareness for the hospital and to help generate fundraising dollars. The television spot initially aired during a Toronto Maple Leafs playoff game.