Innovation 50: Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation launches homesickness fundraising campaign with a pasta sauce brand

Innovation 50: Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation launches homesickness fundraising campaign with a pasta sauce brand

Australian sauce company Coles became part of an extraordinary fundraising initiative in 2019 by Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation. The campaign set out to raise funds to ‘cure homesickness’ among children in hospital.

It started as an emotional story about a girl who misses her mum’s pasta sauce while in hospital and ended with A-list celebrities and a raft of major brands creating a movement called ‘Mum’s Sause’ to end homesickness.

The campaign was so innovative that Tigress Tigress Founder, CEO and Chief Creative Officer Meera Sharath Chandra has nominated it into our Innovation 50 list.

“Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Mum’s Sause is a delightful cure for homesickness. Children in hospital beds all suffer from one common ailment – homesickness. One little girl’s misspelt request for mum’s ‘pasta sause’ triggered a big fundraising drive. By creating and branding the ‘sause’ through Coles, every purchase becomes an easy way to donate as well.

“Powerful, emotive storytelling across channels has resulted in raising much-needed funds,” says Meera.

The Curing Homesickness campaign was created by ad agency CHE Proximity. It began with an entirely fictional story about a girl called Ali.

The agency created a film of Ali being visited in her hospital bed by her brother. He discovers a handwritten note by Ali in which she expresses her homesickness in a very personal way, by saying she misses her mum’s pasta ‘sause’.

Her brother turns the misspelt ‘sauce’ note into a social post, which goes viral, and it becomes a symbol of homesickness that unites celebrities, brands and Australians nationwide as they strive to cure the problem.

The real story

Ali’s story was fictional. But homesickness is real. It affects around half of Australian children in hospital at a severe or moderate level and is a recognised condition in itself. The only real cure is to go home. So the fundraising initiative was about funding more equipment, research and care to get kids home earlier.

Celebrities including Nicole Kidman came on board in support. A host of major brands did the same.

Australian sauce company Coles created a pasta sauce branded ‘Mums Sause’ and for every jar sold, 50 cents was donated to Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation.

Marvel Studios donated a portion of cinema ticket sales (this was pre-covid), Assembly Label donated a percentage of t-shirt sales, and other brands on board included Time Out, NRL, Walt Disney, eBay and more.

A campaign that was started to make more of a difference to the emotional wellbeing of children swept the nation. And it was all started with an innovative idea for a powerful, emotional story about a home sick girl in hospital.