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a special information series: 2013 cassies awards

Client: Hospital for Sick Children
Agency: Cundari
Campaign Period: January - March, 2012
2013 Cassies Award Winner: Gold Award, Events, Seasonal and Short-Term category



When children are undergoing cancer treatment, healthcare providers need all the information they can get to manage pain and improve treatment. Most patients are asked to record their pain symptoms daily in paper journals – an approach that Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children knew was not working for the children in its care.

"There's also a bigger issue," says Dr. Jennifer Stinson, a scientist with Child Health Evaluative Sciences. "With paper-based systems, consistency is a problem. But if we can get kids to complete the pain journal each day, twice a day, health care providers have data they can then use to minimize the pain."

The Hospital for Sick Kids put out a call for help in creating an iPhone application for collecting pain data and sharing it in a central database.



“No matter what, kids are kids. They like to play games.”.”

Aldo Cundari,
is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cundari


The team at Cundari found inspiration through observation. "We went to the hospital and spoke with the children, and what we discovered is pretty basic but powerful," says Aldo Cundari, chairman and chief executive officer of Cundari. "No matter what, kids are kids. They like to play games."

Cundari proposed a 'game' that would spark children's interest and naturally motivate them to record their pain levels twice a day, every day.



This was a collaborative partnership. If I suggested a useful feature, the Cundari team would come back with several solutions...

Dr. Jennifer Stinson,
is a scientist with Child Health Evaluative Sciences at the Hospital for Sick Children


The Pain Squad app prompts patients to fill out a police-style report about their pain. After submitting a certain number of reports, patients move up the ranks to the next level of the game.

"This was a collaborative partnership," says Dr. Stinson. "If I suggested a useful feature, the Cundari team would come back with several solutions but would often say 'we think this one is the best for these reasons.' They also pushed us to see the longer-term goals beyond our initial research project."

The response from patients, their families and clinicians has been overwhelming. Children feel in control with the app and enjoy using it: compliance rates for recording pain twice a day jumped to 90 per cent.

"The idea is that if the children are engaged, they are more likely to use the app regularly," says Mr. Cundari. "And by doing so, their caregivers are going to have better data that can be used to improve treatment."


Canadian Advertising Success Stories – the CASSIES – is Canada's only awards show recognizing the business effectiveness of advertising as demonstrated by rigorous published cases. The ICA (Institute of Communication Agencies) is the driving force behind the event, which is hosted by Strategy Magazine and supported in Quebec by the AAPQ (Association des agences de publicité du Québec) and APCM (Association des professionnels de la communication et du marketing).

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the CASSIES reflect the ICA's long-standing dedication to the advertiser-agency partnership and continuous learning. Winning cases must successfully navigate a demanding two-tier examination by senior-level judges. All told, more than 350 success stories have been published in the Case Library at, along with Crossover Notes that point out critical success factors.

Globe effectiveness prize
In addition to its two CASSIES awards, Cundari won the coveted Globe and Mail Creative Effectiveness Prize for its work on the Pain Squad campaign.

"To qualify for this prize, Cundari won a CASSIES this year, and won at Cannes last summer," says Globe and Mail vice president of advertising Andrew Saunders, who is also the official Canadian representative of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. "We are delighted to promote our domestic talent on the international stage by covering Cundari's entry fee in the 2013 Cannes Lions Creative Effectiveness category and by sending their representative to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France this June."

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