Canadian agencies band together to help Toronto’s homeless

A number of agencies have joined forces to create an integrated campaign supporting Project Winter Survival, an initiative from non-profit Engage and Change dedicated to providing the GTA’s homeless with the supplies necessary to survive life on the winter streets. All creative falls under the theme “‘making the invisible, visible” and the campaign – which […]

A number of agencies have joined forces to create an integrated campaign supporting Project Winter Survival, an initiative from non-profit Engage and Change dedicated to providing the GTA’s homeless with the supplies necessary to survive life on the winter streets.

All creative falls under the theme “‘making the invisible, visible” and the campaign – which is headed up by Cundari’s chief creative officer Andrew Simon – includes social, experiential, outdoor, TV and online ads.

Agencies involved in the campaign include Cundari, Ogilvy & Mather, Village&Co., and Jive Communications, and production houses Westside Studios, Untitled Films, and Rooster are also on board.

Simon, who has worked with Engage and Change in the past, said Ogilvy approached the non-profit with an idea for a campaign. Upon hearing it was already working with Cundari, Ogilvy brought it to Simon and found it fit with a theme he already had in mind, so the two agencies decided to collaborate and extend the opportunity to other interested parties.

“It’s very unusual to have multiple agencies working on the same campaign, but it’s a great cause and we shouldn’t be selfish. Because Engage and Change is a grassroots, volunteer organization, inviting all the agencies in was a perfect fit,” Simon said.

“The more we can get people thinking about the issue, the better off we’ll be. We forget that there are homeless people out there. We stop seeing them and seem to just ignore the problem.”

The first creative executions, developed by Village&Co., launched within social media the first week of January. “Hashtag Hijack” takes popular hashtags and juxtaposes them with images of various homeless individuals in the GTA. For instance, #selfie depicts an intimate shot of a homeless man on the street. With #nofilter, a homeless man is trying trying to warm himself on a heating grate.

Campaign elements will be rolled out weekly throughout January and February. The campaign will run until the spring. All work was done pro bono, said Simon.

Engage and Change was created as a grassroots organization to foster good citizenship and encourage healthy communities by giving back. Project Winter Survival – which provides 3,000 kits of blankets, hats, scarves, gloves and personal care products to the city’s less fortunate – is in its 15th year.

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