Simons’ daring campaign featuring medical assistance in dying

Simons' daring campaign featuring medical assistance in dying

Simons went bold and sent its customers on the weekend of October 30, via its newsletter, a video telling the story of Jennyfer, a young woman who received medical assistance in dying a few days earlier.

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For Peter Simons, this special project aims to celebrate beauty through the trials of life, while some voices in English Canada denounce the exploitation of death for commerce.

“The world does not revolve around trade. Ultimately, it revolves around relationships and our ability to stand in community with a sense of responsibility for others,” explained Peter Simons in an interview with the Journal de Québec.

Whoever handed over the presidency of Simons last March piloted the project. He admits to being hurt by the few virulent comments received about this initiative based on his good intentions, although he expected not to be unanimous.

Simons' daring campaign featuring medical assistance in dying

“Is there beauty and creativity without courage? I say this with humility, but I think not. Without courage, there is just a continuity of what is. It’s not enough for us,” he says, adding that he wanted to do something meaningful that goes beyond reals on Instagram and Tik Tok.

The three-minute video, titled everything is beauty, opens in an empty hospital room. We hear the voice of a woman saying that dying in the hospital is not the natural way to leave and that in these moments, we need serenity. Then she says that sometimes it’s in the face of death that life takes on its full meaning. Then, the viewer discovers Jennyfer, a 37-year-old musician who draws circles in the sand of a beach. We dive into his desires, into nature, into his friendships and all those little things that make the beauty of his life.

For marketing media The Message, “the current trend for brands to take a stand on social issues has been taken to a new level” with the campaign everything is beauty.

Simons' daring campaign featuring medical assistance in dying

Photo archives Jean-François Desgagnés

Communication professor Luc Dupont at the University of Ottawa notes that Simons’ video marks a shift in the way the company promotes its identity. The company, he observes, advances in the field of social responsibility more than advertising, an area where death is forbidden.

“We are not far from public relations. But we’re two blocks away from Christmas, I have to tell you,” underlines Mr. Dupont, for whom the initiative evokes the audacity of Benetton in the 1990s, when the company had shown the last moments in family of a man with AIDS.

In the Simons newsletter, the video on Jennyfer is also accompanied by a message from Peter Simons, explaining the reason for this initiative, based on the mutual aid values ​​of the retailer, which has been in business for 180 years.

In the Journal, the businessman explained that he met Jennyfer in Vancouver, after talking with different organizations to find an inspiring person, with the intention of creating a campaign under the theme of beauty. Peter Simons saw it in the resilience of the young woman, although the choice to request medical assistance in dying is still controversial. For him, the focus is on life, not choice.

“I need to say that if you see beauty, you have gratitude and if you have gratitude, you have hope and generosity. If we feel lucky, we want to take care of each other. Not just from my mother and my children whom I love unconditionally, but from others, people I don’t know. I want to believe that it is a catalyst for generosity and a movement towards human reconnection, ”confided the businessman.

The pandemic has caused a lot of isolation, a feeling of fragility too. In this context, producing something beautiful, with the intention of making a difference, seemed important to Mr. Simons. He acknowledges, however, that it is a difficult story.

To create this project with his team, Peter Simons says he remembered a piece of advice from his father.

“See what is in your heart and if it is in the right place, you have to go for it because there will always be people who doubt and you will never do anything in your life without courage. »

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