St. Jude, Facebook and BBDO will transform child cancer patients into heroes
Omnicom Group's BBDO has been selected to create the first campaign for Made For St. Jude—a new initiative by Facebook Creative Shop, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, VR for Good and studio Flight School—following a competitive pitch at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The initiative was created to help organizations like St. Jude find ways to better benefit from creative. BBDO's winning idea, "Hall of Heroes," which the agency pitched to St. Jude at Cannes, will see child cancer patients celebrated as heroes in a virtual interactive hall. BBDO pitched against Arc Worldwide and Interpublic Group's McCann Paris and R/GA.
"It's easy to make people sad when talking about childhood cancer but we want people to interact and get inspired," BBDO New York Executive Creative Director Tom Markham says. "Facebook is onto something with this project. It's something I hope we see more of. ... Hopefully this can be an annual thing."
Eric Oldrin, Facebook Creative Shop's director of emerging platforms, says while BBDO's pitch won today, he hopes all of the participating agencies' ideas can be built out eventually.
"We wish we could build all four but we'll start with the one," Oldrin says, adding that all of the agencies agreed to creating the campaign pro bono, or as he put it, "out of the goodness of their hearts."
McCann Paris's "Dear Awesome Future Me" concept used VR to invest in the children's future by teaching them skills they'll need later in life.
Oldrin says that idea is meant to dissuade kids from giving up hope by teaching them necessary skills for later in life. "We wanted to elevate the use of technology for a more noble cause: to create hope for the children, and thanks to this hope, have a real positive impact in their recovery," Riccardo Fregoso, executive creative director and creative president of McCann Worldgroup France. "It adds a substantial dose of motivation and optimism in their body and minds."
R/GA's idea was to follow the story of a young cancer patient through a Wizard of Oz-like journey in VR. Arc's pitch actually focused on the parents of patients, using VR to help them stay connected through their child's treatment, as the agency found that many of these parents end up getting divorced.
Oldrin says he read Arc's pitch on a flight and "was bawling by the end."
"This collaboration with these agencies, St. Jude and Flight School is the coolest thing," he adds.
The agencies presented to St. Jude in a closed pitch earlier on Tuesday with BBDO being announced publicly later in the day.