Boys & Girls Clubs launches awareness campaign inspired by the problems of 2020

Who: Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, with Round for creative and strategy (and the freelance creative team of Tim Das and Sean Davison), with production partners Makers, School Editing, and Grayson Music.

What: “Opportunity changes everything,” a new advertising campaign inspired by 2020’s reckoning with systemic societal problems.

When & Where: The campaign went live this week, running through the end of the year. There is video, print and digital display, mostly using donated inventory from media providers like Cineplex Odeon. Ads are also running across the non-profit’s own social channels.

Why: This is the first step of a larger effort to change opinions about, and raise awareness of, the Boys and Girls Club of Canada, particularly in the corporate world. “There is a huge gap between what the organization does versus perceptions,” said founding partner Mike Davidson.

The organization has more than 700 locations and helps more than 200,000 kids every year, and has a clear mission to ensure that kids aren’t deprived of their opportunity, whatever their background. “[Y]et surprisingly many people and corporations don’t know much about them… many think they’re a local after school club,” he said. “Increasing awareness and changing perceptions are critical in order to attract more corporate partners [and] raise funds to be able to help more kids.”

How: The launch spot suggests that the systemic problems that have been exposed and amplified during the pandemic can be tackled by the “systemic opportunity” resulting from some of the programs and services delivered by the Boys and Girls Club of Canada.

The ad uses a montage of black and white video clips showing kids who look troubled, as the list of problems appears on screen. They then appear brighter and happier as they partake in the activities offered by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, and the problems are replaced by solutions: equity, acceptance, support and opportunity.

While the brand strategy was in development pre-pandemic, the first wave of creative was directly inspired by events of the last six months, said Davidson. “Our first campaign needed to reflect the brand’s role in the current environment… Not only the pandemic, but much of the systemic problems that are currently at the forefront.”

What’s next? While this campaign was meant to reflect a remarkable moment in time, the creative will evolve, said Davidson. “We are currently in creative development to launch the next phase of the campaign—one that reflects the broader, long-term vision for the organization.”

And we quote: “Our new Systemic Opportunity campaign encapsulates the driving force behind Boys and Girls Clubs with a simple statement: opportunity changes everything.” — Rachael MacKenzie-Neill, vice-president, marketing and development, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

David Brown