This Artful Healthcare Ad Looks at Illness Through the Eyes of a Child

Don't let the baddies win

In this LifeBridge Health film created by StrawberryFrog, its agency of record, we meet a girl who tells us something we've always known: Monsters are real. 

The work, directed by Douglas Avery, uses familiar PG-13 tropes to guide us back to a specific fear one feels as a child: You're small and alone. It's dark, and maybe something very toothy is sitting just beyond your fingertips or toes. 

LifeBridge Health | Monster

"Monster" moves gently and works well, partly because we're also reminded that we do still feel that way, except now the entity has a name: Mortality, whose most terrible designs in the grownup imagination are often saved for cancer. It's a disease with so many faces, so many ways to conquer your body, that it's difficult not to imagine the worst. 

"We wanted to accurately depict the fear kids experience when battling a traumatic illness like cancer, but do so in a way that felt real to the way a child sees the world," says StrawberryFrog's executive creative director Tyler DeAngelo. "Ultimately we end with a powerful message of hope and comfort that so many of the caregivers at LifeBridge Health share with their patients every day." 

It's hard to make in-patient healthcare not feel grim, swathed as it is in beeping machines and sheets that smell of industrial cleaners. But far from antiseptic, "Monster" feels filigreed in the fable of film and storybooks. 

There's something of The Sixth Sense in seeing the girl huddled under her blanket before she's submerged by dark water. She comes up for air in a forest by night (for it's always night in fairy tale forests). And she's wearing a onesie, all this yet another cultural reference to a world no less fraught with danger: Where the Wild Things Are. 

Like Max, crowned king of the Wild Things, our heroine receives a sharp golden crown, bestowed not by the monsters she's tamed ... but by a nurse. When she removes her hood for coronation, we understand that she is right—her monster is very real, and we know exactly where it lives. When you're small and fighting for your life, it's priceless to have people who can reinforce you, if only with imagination. 

LifeBridge has provided comprehensive healthcare in the state of Maryland since 1866. "Monster" aired on TV in Baltimore on Nov. 28, and will run through 2020 on Hulu and via broadcast channels, with a strong presence around news and sports. It marks the second ad in the "Care Bravely" campaign.

"'Care Bravely' has become a rallying cry for LifeBridge Health internally, and we are thrilled to share that message in narrative form through this television campaign," says CMO Brian Deffaa of LifeBridge Health. "We feel privileged to be a part of our patients' lives and face some of life's greatest challenges alongside them."

See the first "Care Bravely" ad below.


Client: Lifebridge Health
Chief Marketing Officer: Brian Deffaa
Director, Marketing Communications And Execution: Jill Bloom

Creative Agency: Strawberryfrog 
Founder And Chairman: Scott Goodson
Executive Creative Director: Tyler Deangelo
Senior Art Director: Lucy Downs
Senior Copywriter: Ben Wallin
Client Service Director: Shana Bellot
Senior Account Director: Chris Belmore
Senior Project Manager: Mark Nikaj
Strategy Director: David Horowitz
Executive Producer: Linda Rafoss

Production Agency: Madison Media Group
Director: Douglas Avery
Production Company: Film-47
Executive Producer At Film-47: Vic Palumbo
Edithouse: Union Editorial 
Editor: Nicholas Wayman-Harris

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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