2016 Winners

SILVER: Best Brand Integration

SickKids Foundation - SickKids / CBC Murdoch Mysteries

Murdoch Mysteries, CBC's period detective drama, was a natural fit for SickKids to partner with. The show, set in early 1900s Toronto, perfectly reaches SickKids' donor target audience and could organically highlight the historic role the hospital has played solving medical mysteries. The broadcast of the first-ever Murdoch Mysteries holiday special at the culmination of the eight-week campaign, alongside commercial-time creative and customized digital content, were the ideal platform and tactics to reach the SickKids objectives and augment other in-market initiatives.

It was the first-ever brand integration into Murdoch Mysteries. In partnership with the show's producers, Shaftesbury, CBC deeply integrated SickKids into the two-hour holiday special "A Merry Murdoch Christmas."

Giving back, a SickKids brand pillar, was highlighted through various plotlines. Impressed with the work at The Hospital for Sick Children, Dr. Ogden (Helene Joy) inspires her husband Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) to invent baby incubators, later donated at the hospital. In another scene, a young Mary Pickford is seen fundraising for SickKids. Current hospital patients and staff were also featured as extras.

The spirit-of-giving message extended beyond the integration with an emotional two-minute spot, which aired during the special. To demonstrate SickKids' life-changing work and increase the appeal to younger donors, CBC developed a Digital Timeline that highlighted major milestones in the hospital's history through shareable archival content, which was integrated into the Murdoch homepage on a dedicated sponsor tab, another first.

Star Helene Joy appeared as spokesperson for SickKids, appealing for donations in two PSAs, which also promoted the timeline and Murdoch integration. Joy's involvement was well received as a new celebrity ambassador. Custom donation lower thirds appeared during the special and CBC Figure Skating. CBC promoted the show and SickKids through TV, radio, online, print, and OOH. The donation campaign was amplified to the show's rabid fan base through posts on Murdoch social pages, which boast over 100,000 followers.


  1. Nearly 2 million Canadians tuned in to the holiday special - 164% forecasted audience.
  2. The campaign delivered media value worth 300% SickKids' investment with earned media and bonus elements.
  3. Industry accolades rolled in: "One of the most clever brand integrations we've ever seen. Not only an inspired idea for holiday fundraising, but literally a perfect fit for the holiday drama." – Playback Magazine
  4. Weekly SickKids-branded posts on Murdoch's social pages resulted in over 175,000 impressions and 6,000 engagements.
  5. Integration hit a resonant chord with existing and new SickKids donors: "The Christmas episode of Murdoch Mysteries convinced me to make a donation so that other kids can thrive as well." – Anonymous donor
  6. The campaign contributed to SickKids' best holiday fundraising season: "Media innovation was the undisputed hero of our highly successful 2015 holiday campaign." - Lori Davison, VP brand strategy and communications


Agency: Cairns oneil strategic media

Owner: Sherry O'Neil

Managing Director: Tim Hughes

Digital Director: Barbara Glover

Communications Planner: Trish Irwin

Media Coordinator: Mia Kingston

Client: SickKids Foundation

VP Brand Strategy and Communications: Lori Davison

Media Partner: CBC

Associate Director, Content Marketing: Melina Corvaglia

Manager, Content Marketing: Michela Geronimo

Associate Manager, Content Marketing: Daniel Hernandez

CBC Content Executive: Nicole Mendez

Interactive Producer: Nick McAnulty

Producer: Shaftsbury

Chairman & CEO Shaftesbury/Executive Producer Murdoch: Christina Jennings

Executive Producer Murdoch: Peter Mitchell

VP Marketing and Communications Shaftesbury: Katherine Wolfgang

VP Creative Shaftesbury/Producer Murdoch: Julie Lacey

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Zoe Sherwood at 416-408-2300 x237 or zsherwood@brunico.com.