Sunnybrook Foundation chooses Grip as AOR
January 29, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
Sunnybrook Foundation has appointed Toronto’s Grip Limited its agency of record following a competitive review.
Grip’s purview will include traditional advertising, digital and social media work. The assignment had been with Dentsu Canada since 2009, but a conflict arose when that agency acquired Bos, which counted the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health among its clients – in early 2012.
The review, led by longtime marketing and advertising consultant Marci Pearlman, began with a long list of 12 agencies. Pamela Ross, the foundation’s executive vice-president, said that Grip was selected on the basis of its senior leadership team’s “deep personal connection” to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
“They knew us intimately from the patient side, and were deeply appreciative of the experience they had and just got us,” said Ross. “That’s really important for success.”
Ross also praised the agency’s ability to connect consumer behaviour to what she called the “guts” of a brand with a platform-agnostic approach. “Consideration for the channel was later in the process,” said Ross. “The question was first ‘Who are we talking to and how do we need to talk to them to be meaningful?’ That was really powerful for us.”
Ross also praised the agency’s “ridiculous” digital capabilities. “We were just thrilled to have an agency of this calibre want to get behind us,” she said.
The two companies are currently in the planning stages of a fundraising initiative that is set to launch in the spring. The marketing efforts will reflect what Ross called an “intensive” internal look at Sunnybrook’s objectives in various medical disciplines such as oncology, neo-natal care and heart disease. She said it will be markedly different to prior fundraising efforts.
Ross said that despite a smaller marketing budget, Sunnybrook’s standards for its marketing are not just the not-for-profit sector, but major brands. “The marketing job we have to do is no less rigorous than the Royal Bank’s, it’s just that we have less money,” she said. “Those are the standards to which we hold ourselves.”
Sunnybrook first began marketing in 2009 and has seen key performance indicators such as the size of its donor base and the value of its donations rise steadily over the ensuing three years, said Ross. “It’s given the organization confidence to continue the work we’re doing,” she said.