Why Scouts Canada is giving badges for being a ‘house potato’

Who: Scouts Canada and Church + State for creative and strategy, with Aber Group for media and CentricPR for media relations.

What: A new advertising recruitment campaign to A) let people know Scouts is fully operational during the pandemic and B) encourage people to sign up.

When & Where: The campaign began Oct. 26 and is running online with paid social and display. There is also new COVID-specific content on the Scouts site.

Why: Many parents across Canada have spent eight months worrying about their kids being largely stuck at home and deprived of most of the normal activities they got to partake in prior to the pandemic.

Scouts Canada wants parents to know that not only is it one extracurricular option that kids can enjoy this fall, but the skills that Scouts build will help kids during this challenging time.

“We needed to find an attention-seizing way to communicate that not only is Scouts fully operational for the fall, but that the benefits of scouting are actually more relevant and needed today than ever before,” said Jennifer Lee Thomas, director of communications and marketing for Scouts Canada.

How: Church + State reimagined merit badges—long synonymous with Scouting—but for some of the behaviours, habits and “activities” that many kids have excelled at during the pandemic (and about which so many parents feel guilty).

There’s a badge for screen juggler, for example, as well as one for video game studies, one for wearing the same outfit three days in a row, and another for not going outside. The closing message is that it’s time to go back to Scouts.

“We wanted to reflect the reality of parents’ complex feelings around COVID life, guilt, stress, even shame, in a way that was interesting and empathetic without ever feeling like it was being opportunistic,” said Ron Tite, founder and chief creative officer at Church+State.

The agency also worked with psychologist and resilience expert Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe to create The Guide To Resilient Children. Hanley-Dafoe also hosted a webinar for parents and did other media outreach. According to Church + State, the media outreach generated more than 28 million earned media impressions, while the guide has been downloaded 7,000 times.

And we quote: “Dr. Hanley-Dafoe was the perfect person to help parents navigate the conversations and decisions that come along with trying to raise resilient children—not just during a pandemic, but for whatever comes their way in the future.” — Jennifer Lee Thomas, director of communications and marketing, Scouts Canada


David Brown