The next challenge was to bring the creed to life. Again, our partners at Y&R were involved, drafting an incredible script for a visual commercial that required no voice-over, no interviews but would use actual doctors, nurses, patients, survivors and lottery winners to tell The Princess Margaret story simply by holding a sign with a short but impactful message.
On April 19, more than 100 participants arrived at The Princess Margaret, ready to be part of a landmark television commercial. It was a well-utilized 12-hour day, with participants intrigued by how the end result would turn out.
By June, Y&R presented three versions of the commercial, in lengths of 90-, 60- and 30-seconds. The visuals were extraordinary, but equally great was the soundtrack music. Y&R had secured the ability to use ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ by The Verve to add its haunting lilt to the commercials.
It should be noted that efforts involving the ‘In Our Lifetime’ commercials were provided pro bono. Y&R generously donated their services, the music publisher donated use of the song and all those that appeared in the commercial volunteered their time as well.
Beginning late-July, the 90-second version of the commercial began to appear on television screens. Like the entire campaign, the commercials are now being aired across the country pro bono. Yes, our broadcast partners realized that a creative commercial that helps recognize one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world is great programming. BNN led the way, followed in quick succession by CTV GlobeMedia stations, Rogers Television, Global TV, CBC Television, OMNI, TLN, SUN-TV, Leafs TV, Raptors TV, the Pet Channel and assorted individual television stations, as well as new digital media outlets such as OBN (Outdoor Broadcast Network) and the Captivate Network’s elevator news.
The PMHF ‘In Our Lifetime’ campaign was pitched to various marketing publications, and The Globe and Mail, Marketing and Strategy all covered this unique marketing strategy.
The response has been incomparable. Emails and phone calls have flooded in, congratulating The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation on the ‘In Our Lifetime’ commercials. Here is a sampling of unsolicited remarks:
“WOW!! Tears of hope and joy are flowing from my eyes now and after about 10 seconds into it! What an amazing video! Congratulations.”
“By far, one of the single most powerful commercials I have ever seen.”
"So encouraging. Don't give up. There are miracles and hopes in our life."
"I'm a marketing guy. Marketing is my thing. I live it. I breathe it. I had a bowl of marketing for breakfast this morning. (Actually, I did. Captain Crunch. And if that doesn't scream marketing, I don't know what does) When it comes to commercials I can be very critical. What works. What doesn't work. What's funny. What's annoying. You get the picture. Not very often does a commercial have such an effect on me as The PMHF’s ‘In Our Lifetime’. The message is clear, the people are real and the music choice couldn't suit it more. I applaud The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation for taking their communications to a new level. A level that makes people actually stop, think and reflect. By doing this, it only helps in their mission to ‘conquer cancer in our lifetime.’”
The ‘In Our Lifetime’ campaign now extends to most Foundation activities. Our annual report borrows heavily from the theme of holding signs with messaging. A 15-second version of the commercial will air on digital billboards and on elevator monitors in downtown Toronto beginning in October.
The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation gratefully sends its heartfelt appreciation to all those who helped create and execute this campaign, and those who have taken the time to watch the impactful message. You can help us out by sending this link to your family and friends: www.pmhf.ca
It is important that we tell the world about the extraordinary work being done at The Princess Margaret, one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world.