Why McCann made a 24-hour documentary

Who: Petro-Canada, with McCann Toronto for strategy and creative, Skin and Bones for production (directed by Jennifer Roberts), Smile and Wave for post-production, Ta2 for audio, Tam-Tam\TBWA for French adaptation, Performance Art for the website, McCann Calgary for media, and Veritas for PR.

What: “24 Hours of Care,” a campaign for Petro-Canada’s CareMakers Foundation that is part advertising, part 24-hour-long documentary. The film depicts a day in the life of 10 family caregivers across Canada, and the challenges they face each day.

When & Where: The campaign launched at the beginning of the month, and will run through the end of the year. The cornerstone is the 24-hour interactive documentary at 24HoursofCare.ca, but there’s also a large integrated campaign pushing to the site that includes TV (:60s, :30s and :15s), various online videos, outdoor, PR and influencer outreach, and location signage.

Why: Petro-Canada launched the CareMakers Foundation in 2020 both to provide financial support to caregiving charities across the country, and to raise awareness of the issue of family caregivers, and the challenges they face. (See the first CareMakers Foundation campaign by McCann here.)

While more than eight million Canadians have some responsibility to provide care for a family member, many other Canadians don’t fully understand what that entails, since so much caregiving happens at home and in private.

“We really wanted to strike a nerve, with those people willing to spend some time with this campaign to understand a day in the life,” said Josh Stein, chief creative officer for McCann Canada. “This is what these [caregivers] are doing around the clock, every waking moment is spent doing something, and a lot of those are spent caring for others.”

CareMakers Foundation is a charity, so fundraising money is always important, but fundraising was not the focus of this campaign, said Stein. “This is an awareness campaign, they want people to know this world of caregiving and the role of the caregiver.”

How: The campaign’s underlying idea is that at any time of the day, people can be taken inside the lives of 10 different family caregivers at that moment. The documentary provides an intimate, personal, sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes heartwarming look at the lives of these caregivers.

Whenever visitors arrive at the 24HoursOfCare.ca site and press play on the film, they are instantly taken to that time in the documentary: press play at 1:35 p.m., and you see what is going on in the life of a caregiver at 1:35 p.m.

Over top of the film, there’s a clock-like overlay interface made up of rings: The outer ring represents the 24 hours of the day, while the inner ring the 60 minutes in each hour. Viewers can click on the rings to see what the breakfast routine was like, or what happens at bedtime. Other parts of the site let visitors learn more about each family, and see annotated clips of their day.

The longer TV spots present a montage of moments to capture the essence of a full day, while 15s focus on day parts: a caregiver’s morning, a caregiver’s evening etc. All of which push viewers to the site.

With the digital buy, however, ad units will present the documentary at that moment in time. “That could be your way into the “24 Hours of Care” interactive film,” said Stein. Then the interactive component encourages deeper engagement by letting people navigate through the story ”Even if you’re just spending a little bit of time to play with it, it’s a pretty powerful message that comes through.”

***On Thursday, The Message will publish a Q&A with Jennifer Roberts, who directed “24 Hours of Care.” 

David Brown