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The Healing House

basics
Industry: Beauty & Health
Media:Print
Style: Minimalism
descriptioncnen
Why is this work relevant for Branded Content & Entertainment?

We designed a 7,000 square-foot spa—from scratch—on one of Toronto’s busiest street corners and invited passersby to relax their fear and receive a rejuvenating massage from our HIV-positive Healers.

Describe any restrictions or regulations regarding Health & Wellness communications in your country/region including:

This campaign faced no restrictions.

Health & Wellness work must demonstrate how it meets the criteria 'life-changing creativity'. Why is your work relevant for Health & Wellness?

Despite over 40 years of HIV/AIDS education and awareness, a shocking number of people in North America still believe they can get the disease by touching someone who has it. Touch is essential to human health and development, but fear and stigma make many people with HIV feel untouchable.

Background

Healing House builds off last year’s campaign for Casey House in which we built a pop-up restaurant and staffed it with HIV-positive chefs. Although the campaign was incredibly successful at smashing HIV stigma, the primary learning was clear: we had missed an opportunity to facilitate direct contact between the HIV-positive chefs and the restaurant’s patrons. This played heavily into the brief for this year’s work.

Describe the creative idea

To dispel the myth around HIV and touch, we created the world’s first HIV-positive spa, Healing House, and staffed it with 18 HIV-positive volunteers (Healers) who were trained by the registered massage therapist for major league baseball team, The Toronto Blue Jays. Our Healers would prove that, far from being dangerous, their soothing touch could in fact be healing.

Describe the strategy

We conducted a poll and found that 51% of North Americans won’t touch someone with HIV. Even worse, 95 million people in North America still believe they can contract HIV from touch. It’s easy to hold prejudice like this from a distance, but what about when you’re sitting face-to-face with someone who has HIV? Or when you’re sharing skin-to-skin touch with them? We wanted to facilitate this direct contact to promote compassion and understanding.

Describe the execution

We designed a 7,000 square-foot spa on one of Toronto’s busiest street corners and invited the public to relax their fear. For greater impact, our HIV-positive Healers created a package for prominent journalists: a bottle of essential oil handmade by the Healers themselves and an invitation for a free massage. Everything about Healing House was designed to be media friendly. The walls were adorned with facts and bold statements about HIV ignorance. Over the course of three days, our Healers delivered hundreds of healing massages, soothed aching muscles, and changed more than a few minds.

Describe the outcome

We designed a 7,000 square-foot spa on one of Toronto’s busiest street corners and invited the public to relax their fear. For greater impact, our HIV-positive Healers created a package for prominent journalists: a bottle of essential oil handmade by the Healers themselves and an invitation for a free massage. Everything about Healing House was designed to be media friendly. The walls were adorned with facts and bold statements about HIV ignorance. Over the course of three days, our Healers delivered hundreds of healing massages, soothed aching muscles, and changed more than a few minds.
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awards
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Bronze Health & Wellness
Non-profit / Foundation-led Education & Awareness
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