All the therapists are HIV positive at this Toronto spa

Campaign by Casey House follows last year's pop-up restaurant project

Published On
Dec 04, 2018

Editor's Pick

Casey House, the Toronto HIV hospital which won awards last year for its creation of an HIV pop-up restaurant, has followed up with a new project--a spa where the workers are all HIV positive. 

Casey worked once again with agency Bensimon Byrne and sister company Narrative to create the spa, Healing House. Situated in downtown Toronto, it employed 15 HIV positive therapists to give free massage treatments to customers last weekend. Billboards with the slogan "Relax Your Fear" promoted it outside.  

Joseph Bonnici, partner/executive creative director at Bensimon Byrne, explains how the project followed on from the restaurant: "If food made by HIV+ chefs makes people uncomfortable, what about actual skin-to-skin touch? We want to make those that are ignorant uncomfortable with what we are doing. We conducted a North American wide poll and found that almost half the population wouldn’t touch someone with HIV."

Bonnici adds that the spa also allowed the workers to speak directly to customers and tell their stories, rather than being behind the scenes as the chefs were in the restaurant. 

Joanne Simons, CEO of Casey House, says: “Compassion is something Canadians are known for, yet as a country we lack empathy for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. It is time for compassion to win over complacency. With the launch of Healing House, we’re going to lead by example and show the world how positive touch can be a form of healing for those who deal daily with misperceptions and the stigma of HIV/AIDS."


Dec 04, 2018
Client :
Casey House
Agency :
Bensimon Byrne
Agency :
Chief Marketing Officer :
Mark Trask
Executive Creative Director :
Joseph Bonnici
Creative Director/Art Director :
Gints Bruveris
Creative Director/Art Director :
Meredith Klapowich
Creative Director/Art Director :
Debbie Chan
Creative Director/Writer :
David Mueller
Creative Director/Writer :
Laura Serra
Writer :
Matt Velanzano
Art Director :
Kath Flores
Producer :
Michelle Pilling
Project Manager :
Ashley Belfast
Project Manager :
Laura Robinson
Photographer :
Matt Barnes
Studio :
Westside Studios
Producer :
Natalie D’Urbano
Media Director :
Thomas Shadoff
Media Supervisor :
Darra Naiman
Media Planner :
Ruth Rivas
Director of Social Media :
Kristina Kosa
Managing Director :
Sarah Spence
Account Director :
Lauren Baswick
Senior Account Manager :
Kylee Berencsi
Media Relations :
Cheryl Holmes
Media Relations :
Jackie Kleinberg
Media Relations :
Yolonda Abrahams
Account Manager :
Jessica Leroux
Event Manager :
Gigi Rabnett
Event Support :
Vanessa Kissoon
Event Support :
Olivia Crane
Account Coordinator :
Madeleine Porter
Transfer and Online Facility :
Alter Ego

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