Raising the Roof urges Canadians to ‘Rise Up’ against homelessness

Who: Raising the Roof and The Local Collective.

What: “Rise Up and Raise the Roof,” a rallying cry akin to a sports hype video, asking people to join the team to fight homelessness. It’s the organization’s 24th annual Toque Campaign to raise awareness and money in support of ending homelessness in Canada.

When & Where: The campaign broke late last month, anchored by a 60-second video spot and a large out-of-home component that includes ads in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square.

Why: Approximately 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, but that number has risen to an all-time high this year because of the pandemic.

Shelters have been forced to reduce capacity to allow for physical distancing, meaning that people have been camping out in parks and on city streets in greater numbers than ever before. While this is problem at any time of year, it’s even more troubling with the arrival of colder temperatures.

“The need for support to combat homelessness in Canada is always acute, but due to the pandemic, this year’s campaign really needs to catch fire,” said Marc Soberano, executive director of Raising the Roof. “The Rise campaign is designed to do just that. Take the passion Canadians feel for their sports teams and apply it to defeating homelessness. Because we all play on one team, the human team.”

How: The creative approach here is based on the insight that Canadians’ passion for things like sporting events and performance has been “dormant” this year, but there is a groundswell of passion and pride around activism and uplifting communities, particularly among younger Canadians.

The 60-second anchor video consists of a series of quick-cuts, some of which seemingly show people cheering on their favourite team. It urges Canadians to take the passion they feel for sports, and “Team Canada” in particular, and direct it towards supporting the homelessness cause.

As the music swells, the narrator informs viewers that “This is our team. The Canadian team. The human team. Never quit. We don’t know stop. We fall, we rise back up.” The voiceover urges people to wear the uniform (in this case the Raising the Roof toque) to show their support for the cause, as we see people wearing the Raising the Roof toque with its recognizable house shape. In addition to toques, Raising the Roof has also introduced #Rise2020 face masks that are being sold for $15 at RaisingTheRoof.org and at Home Dept locations in Peel Region.

And we quote: “Due to the pandemic this year, so many of the natural rallying moments we usually feel have been lost. No shared sporting events, no shared cheering for a performance, that passion is sitting dormant. We want to shift that passion towards defeating and making our opponent homelessness. That is the team we want people to join.” — Matt Litzinger, president and chief creative officer, The Local Collective

Chris Powell