Desjardins providing solo musical performances for those in need (including musicians)

Who: Desjardins, with Bleublancrouge for strategy and creative, media by Glassroom (both are part of the Humanise collective), along with production partners Radke, Vapor, U92, Alter Ego and Jigsaw.

What: “Send a Solo,” a new marketing campaign built around the idea that music can provide an emotional lift for many people during difficult times, including professional musicians faced with financial hardship because they’re unable to perform live.

When & Where: The campaign began Friday and will run for two weeks. There’s a big buy exclusive with Bell Media for TV, radio, digital and social. Aside from ads, “Send a Solo” content will appear in Bell programming including Your Morning, The Social, The Marilyn Denis Show, and eTalk.

Why: In the early days of the pandemic, Desjardins quickly produced some highly functional advertising, assuring customers they were still open for business and ready to help with whatever they needed, even if extraordinary measures were in place for social distancing.

From there, Desjardins wanted something more emotionally resonant that would show the brand actually helping people rather than just talking about it. “We thought… how do we provide emotional relief for our clients, for Canadians. How can we brighten your day? How can we put a smile on your face and just lift your spirits a little bit,” said Björn Bruschke, Desjardins’ vice-president marketing and client communications.

The answer was music. From the early days of the pandemic, it’s been clear from social media that people have been turning to music—sharing it, performing it and enjoying it—to bring some light into a dark time. Desjardins wanted to create original music experiences that would benefit both music fans and some musicians.

How: Paid solo performances by 40 musicians, from across genres and styles, gifted to 100 people who Desjardins identified as being in particular need of an emotional lift.

“It’s for people in the community who are deserving in one way, or struggling in one way or another, and could really get an emotional boost from someone singing a solo to them,” said Bleublancrouge executive creative director Chris Dacyshyn.

To launch the campaign, seven performances were done live and in person, all while maintaining social distance. Footage from those performances was used for ad creative and will be pushed out as video content across digital channels. “They’re all very touching and sweet and lovely,” said Dacyshyn.

That content includes a call to nominate other people who deserve a musical solo performance just for them. Those performances will be done virtually—recorded by the artist, edited with a dedication from the nominator and sent to the nominee.

How did they get the in-person video? “The only camera people and people actually producing the spot were family members who live with the musician,” said Dacyshyn. In one case, it’s a 14-year-old boy shooting his mom’s performance. The content was captured using three iPhone 11s—two on tripod and the third handheld. Radke’s Chris Muir coached the amateur cinematographers on how to set up the iPhones and remotely directed the performance.

Has Desjardins marketed around music before? “Not like this,” said Bruschke. “We agreed music is a great way to connect emotionally; it’s a great distraction… it’s a universal language and it’s a way to connect with people. It was almost a natural fit for us to use music and support musicians to really connect with our communities.”

David Brown