Home is Where the Heart Is

mcdonalds-dad-cine-231x300For the past 33 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (RMHC) has welcomed families who have a child in the hospital by providing them with affordable accommodations and a supportive environment. The program places families into a House within close proximity to a hospital, especially beneficial for families from out of town (as many smaller cities don’t have dedicated children’s hospitals) or unable to make the lengthy commute each day. The need to travel far from home to access specialized care is growing, as is the demand for the services, the latter due to advancements in medical treatments, where more children are being treated, but over longer periods of time. The total number of bedrooms at the Houses has increased to 398 from 268 and the need is projected to rise to 538 by 2017.

Research in 2011 indicated that while 94% of Canadians are strongly aware of RMHC, 32% of people don’t understand what the organization actually does. So to help educate people about its mission, and subsequently increase donations to expand its footprint, McDonald’s launched a campaign that put people in the shoes of those who use the Ronald McDonald Houses.

Working with agency Cossette, the campaign included creative on TV, cinema, print, radio, OOH and tray liners in McDonald’s restaurants that showcased RMHC with a series of snapshot views that captured everyday family moments of those living in the Houses. Creative showed how the Ronald McDonald Houses provide a sanctuary at a time when families’ lives have been turned upside down. The stories were told through the lens of each family member: mom, dad and child. By putting themselves in the mindset of these families, viewers were able to empathize with those who are affected and understand the services they require to be near their loved ones.

The campaign was attributed to a 59% lift in understanding of what RMHC does for families, as well as a 72% lift in donations to help expand the House network and create more bedrooms for families in need. The campaign received coverage in 135 media outlets, as well as $4 million worth of donated media, which helped generate almost 13 million impressions. The campaign won a Cause + Action award. This write-up can be found on Strategy Online.


Koodonation is Canada’s first-ever micro-volunteering website. A corporate social responsibility initiative of Koodo Mobile, it was designed to inspire and engage Koodo’s millennial customers in volunteering.

Microvolunteering is done online, in short bursts with only a short time commitment, a simple way for Koodo’s tech-savvy young customers to support local charities, non profits and organizations that need help.

More than 9,000 young Canadians have volunteered time to help more than 380 non-profits and charities on the Koodonation website.

The strategy behind Koodonation was based on extensive research that revealed Canada’s generation of young people aged 13-18 are very generous, donating an average $293 of their own money to charitable causes every year. Those aged 19-29 donate an average $400 per year. Millennials devote significant time to volunteering and want to do more, although they often don’t have time due to their busy schedules.

koodonationKoodonation was launched with a massive Wipeout-style event in Toronto’s downtown Yonge-Dundas Square, where teams from four post-secondary schools battled it out in fun, visually exciting challenges such as sumo wrestling and tricycle races. The winning team, Durham College, won a $30,000 donation to its favourite charity.

The launch was hosted by MTV’s Sheena Snively and attended by celebrities Jeremy Taggert of Our Lady Peace, Daniel Johnson of the Stereos, and Mike Bradwell, a star football player for the Toronto Argonauts. The launch of Koodonation earned more than 30 million positive media impressions.

In year two in 2013, the “Koodonation Online Throwdown” was created: a virtual competition that challenged post-secondary students at schools across Canada to do the most good online via Koodonation in a two-week timeframe. The campaign won a Cause + Action award in 2013. The write-up can be seen here.

Koodonation was created by Strategic Objectives and this write-up can be found on their website.

The White Cashmere Collection

cashmere-wccgroupThe White Cashmere Collection (WCC) is a fund- and awareness-raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) that hinges on a mega runway fashion show. The bathroom tissue collection is crafted entirely using sheets of Cashmere bathroom tissue and showcases its Pink Cashmere product, with 25 cents from the sale of every package going to the CBCF.

Over the past decade, the collection has featured more than 120 top Canadian fashion designers and has been promoted using almost every platform from traditional advertising to social media. The goals for the 2013 program were to reassert Cashmere’s CSR position, celebrate the collection’s 10-year anniversary and surpass 2012′s massive media coverage.

Until 2013, PR was the primary awareness driver for the program. Working with agencies Strategic Objectives, Fuse, Totem, John St., Maxus and Propeller Digital, the brand created a multi-layered, multi-phased cause marketing campaign that was designed to generate year-round media coverage for WCC. This was Cashmere’s most aggressive CSR marketing campaign ever.

A runway fashion show at Toronto’s AGO took place in September, hosted by breast cancer survivor and CTV Canada AM co-host, Beverly Thomson. The collection was curated by fashion designer Farley Chatto and starred 20 Canadian designers, whose garments and accessories were crafted using only Cashmere tissue.

The brand executed six bilingual and national traditional and social media campaigns over a 10-month period, and targeted fashion, beauty, lifestyle, news, trade and consumer journalists to create awareness. Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary media tours expanded regional coverage and asked Canadians to visit the brand’s Facebook page and vote for their favourite garment. Cashmere donated $1 for each vote to the CBCF (up to $10,000).

For the first time, the WCC and CBCF were featured in a national Cashmere TV ad. Also a first, the brand’s parent company, Kruger Products, integrated the collection into its trade show and in-store sampling programs to showcase the program as well as the Pink Cashmere products.

In the end, more than 155 million media impressions were generated, with 369 media stories as well as five-plus hours of broadcast coverage. The campaign also received more than six million Twitter impressions, 45,000-plus votes and the brand’s Facebook fan base grew by an average of 400 per day during the campaign.

The campaign won a Cause + Action Award and this write-up can be found on this page on Strategy Online.

The Lush-est of gardens

By Erin Knutson

Special to The Pioneer

Since 2007, the ethically conscious handmade cosmetics company Lush Canada has been generously donating its profits from their charity-giving enterprise Charity Pot. Envisioned by CEO and founder Mark Constantine, the handmade cosmetic program supports grassroots organizations in exciting new ventures.

Locally, the Groundswell Community Greenhouse has been the recipient of a $20,000 donation by Lush towards its modern 12,000 square foot state-of-the-art permaculture garden. Harnessing both permaculture and renewable energy, Groundswell is in year four of construction on its inspired project.
“We are creating an outdoor teaching space, an open stage, a gathering place for community outdoor events,” said Bill Swan, project leader for the Groundswell’s Community Greenhouse development. “We are pushing toward completion — we are at eighty per cent.”

Read Full Article…

CIBC ‘The Moment’

The Moment  – CIBC and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

17 years and counting, CIBC’s sponsorship of Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is the longest standing marquee partnership within the industry. Association with the CIBC Run for the Cure (RFTC) significantly impacts positive brand perception of CIBC.

With the challenge of breaking through an extremely cluttered cause-marketing space and facing declines in participation and fundraising due to donor fatigue and the rise of other charitable run/walks, CIBC needed a campaign that would stand out and encourage consumers to think about the Run for a Cure in a new light.

CIBC’s objectives were to drive participation and donations for the Run for the Cure, and to create a positive brand affinity and for this, they turned to social video to connect with consumers and to drive awareness. The video was housed on YouTube but shared through various other social media channels.

In the video below entitled ‘The Moment,’ CIBC wanted to show a very important moment that happens around breast cancer diagnosis – when someone is receiving news at a doctor’s office. Using theatre actors to make the message believable and real and backed by research with doctors and breast cancer patients, CIBC wanted the video to be as accurate as possible in terms of someone receiving this type of news. This compelling video took home the Gold Halo Award at the 2014 Cause Marketing Forum conference in the video category – watch below to see for yourself!

Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart

RFH_HomePage_Rotator_925x344_Final_June18About 14,000 cyclists participated in the 2014 Heart and Stroke Foundation’s 26th-annual Becel Heart and Stroke Ride for Heart on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

This year’s event — where cyclists could choose to accomplish 25-, 50- or 75-km rides — raised a record-breaking $6 million. 2013’s fundraiser netted $5.5 million.

ScotiaBank Aids Walk for Life Backgrounder

ScotiaBankAWFL_bannerScotiabank AIDS Walk for Life 2013

  • Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life 2013 will be held in 50 communities across Canada from September 14 to 22.
  • The web-based registration and donation system through the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life website makes it even easier to support the cause. The majority of fundraising activity occurs on-line.  It is secure and simple to use and official tax receipts are issued within seconds in most cases.
  • The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life is Canada’s most important HIV/AIDS fundraising and awareness event.
  • The Walk strives to educate Canadians about the social, cultural, and economic issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in their communities.
  • Events are hosted by Canadian AIDS Society member organisations.  All proceeds from the Walk support local community programs and services that directly benefit people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The funds stay in the communities in which they were raised.
  • The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life is a project of the Canadian AIDS Society in partnership with the Positive Living Society of British Columbia, AIDS Committee of Toronto, and community-based AIDS Service organizations across Canada.
  • Scotiabank continues its multi-year commitment as the title sponsor for the AIDS Walk.



  • The first fundraising and awareness walk for HIV/AIDS in Canada was held in Vancouver in 1986.
  • In subsequent years, various communities across Canada independently held their own fundraising and awareness walks for HIV/AIDS.
  • The Walk became a national event in 1996.  At that time, the Canadian AIDS Society agreed to coordinate and manage what was then known as AIDS Walk Canada.
  • Since 1996, the national Walk has raised over $38 million dollars for community-based AIDS service organizations and has attracted well over half a million participants.

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure


In 2013, CIBC marked its 17th anniversary as title sponsor of the event, which brings together more than 130,000 Canadians annually in over 60 communities across the country to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, treatment and care.








The 2013 CIBC Pink Collection™ has been unveiled at CIBC branches across the country. 100% of net proceeds support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Paws for the Planet

NESTLÉ PURINA PETCARE CANADA - Purina's Paws for the PlanetAnimals at the Toronto Humane Society will be spending more time outside this summer thanks to the Paws for the Planet initiative, a program established by Purina and Evergreen to create a better, greener world for people and their pets. Communities across the country are pitching in to create safe and sustainable spaces for shelter animals to enjoy while they wait for their forever homes.

The Toronto Humane Society (THS) was the fourth of seven shelters across Canada to receive the green treatment as Purina and Evergreen joined together to renovate the renowned shelter that has been helping animals for decades. Last year, Paws for the Planet visited five shelters across Canada, including Toronto, where the team created rooftop gardens with a variety of animal-friendly plants.

Canadians can join the initiative and learn how to reduce their pet’s eco-paw print by visiting www.pawsfortheplanet.ca. They can also enter the contest online to win one of three $5000 backyard makeovers to create more green space at home to enjoy with their pets. With every contest entry, Purina will donate $5 (up to a maximum of $50,000) to Evergreen’s Stewardship and Restoration/Urban Ecology program to engage people in creating, restoring and stewarding accessible public green spaces across Canada.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

greatcanadian_shoreline_cleanupA 21-year initiative, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a conservation initiative of Vancouver Aquarium and WWF presented by Loblaw Companies Limited.  The Shoreline Cleanup is Canada’s largest direct-action conservation initiative, mobilizing participants throughout the country to remove litter from its shorelines – anywhere where land meets water. In 2013, more than 58,000 Canadians helped remove almost 100,000 kilograms of garbage and debris from the shorelines of the country’s rivers, lakes and oceans.

Read more about the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup