How can a Hospital advocate for itself?
The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation has been working with Government to secure funding for the redevelopment of the hospital campus for the last 20 years, to no avail. RAHF hired us prior to the 2017 provincial budget to build a campaign to increase public awareness of the needs of the RAH and put pressure on the Government to finally include the hospital as a line item in the capital budget.
Given the complexity of relationships and professional responsibilities, neither patients nor doctors, administrators or foundation members are in a position to speak as unequivocally as this campaign needed to. Rather than soften the message, or equivocate, we created a proxy.
We created a persona and character for the RAH: Alex. Smart, warm and not one for mincing words.
Alex is a puppet replica of the Active Treatment Centre at the RAH, the main tower that most Edmontonians are familiar with. We captured Alex’s voice through a series of video blogs, hosted on a custom built website that allowed people to send a letter of support to the Premier, the Health Minister and their local MLA directly. We hosted a news conference at the launch of the campaign and dominated the news cycle in the following days. A multi-platform ad buy was launched and featured newspaper, television, radio and digital ads.
And it worked. On budget day, it was announced that the RAH would receive $520 million for two new redevelopment projects.
In the seven weeks between the launch of the campaign and the provincial budget, the website saw more than 30,000 users and hundreds of letters were sent to the Government. The campaign reached the majority of Edmontonians, allowed the Foundation to engage with citizens in a different way and resulted in a major funding announcement for the hospital.