2019 Winner

Casey House

The Healing House

Bensimon Byrne / Narrative

BronzeSocial/Conversational Strategy

Hate is an emotion that gets a lot of airtime on social media, and it’s usually bred by fear as a result of being misinformed. Casey House, Bensimon Byrne and Narrative decided to educate the ignorant, creating provocative videos that show people with HIV conducting skin-to-skin massage therapy at a “Healing House.”

The wellness spa in Toronto had 18 HIV+ volunteers perform neck, back and shoulder massages to hundreds of people, with the team documenting the event and sharing the video online. Knowing that it would spark outrage, a team of moderators were poised to respond to the social media backlash and correct people’s misconceptions around the spread of HIV (which is, of course, not contagious through touch).

Paid media targeted social media activity in areas where research showed the stigma was especially prevalent. Research shows that 51% of North Americans won’t touch someone with HIV, and while many still share that opinion, the campaign managed to educate hundreds of thousands of Canadians and decrease negative sentiment by as much as 27% on platforms like Reddit. With a budget of just $30,000, “Healing House” amassed a media value of $11 million.

Executive Creative Director: Joseph Bonnici / Dan Strasser
Creative Director/Art Director: Gints Bruveris/Meredith Klapowich/Debbie Chan
Creative Director/Writer: David Mueller/Laura Serra
Writer: Matt Velanzano
Art Director: Katherine Flores
Strategist: Kristina Kosa
Producer: Daniel Rankin
Business Lead: Laura Robinson
Program Director: Ashley Belfast
Project Manager: Sadaf Ghandehari
Photographer: Matt Barnes
Studio: Westside Studios
Producer: Natalie D’Urbano
Media Director: Thomas Shadoff
Media Supervisor: Darra Naiman
Community Manager: Rebecca Milner
Creative Technology Lead: Patrick Schroen
Director of Studio Production: Sanjay Mangar
Retoucher: Alex Chung
Studio Artists: Jacquie Dudley, Matthew Szulczewski

Public Relations Agency: Narrative
Managing Director: Sarah Spence
Account Director: Lauren Baswick
Senior Account Manager: Kylee Berencsi
Media Relations: Cheryl Holmes, Jackie Kleinberg, Yolonda Abrahams, Tony Koutoulas
Account Manager: Jessica Leroux
Associate Account Manager: Katie Muekusch
Event Producers: Gigi Rabnett, Holly McDonald
Event Support: Vanessa Kissoon
Project Consultant: Jordan MacInnis
Account Coordinator: Olivia Crane

Client Team:
Chief Executive Officer: Joanne Simons
Chief Marketing Officer: Mark Trask

Need help? Contact Clare O'Brien at 1-416-408-2300 x307 or cobrien@brunico.com.