BGC shares the ‘Unshareable’

Who: BGC (formerly Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada); with Round for creative and strategy; Epitaph for media.

What: “Unshareable Stories,” a campaign documenting some of the personal and difficult real-life stories of kids helped by BGC.

When & Where: The campaign runs from May 1 through June 2, with another wave planned for November and December. Media includes pro bono TV, paid digital, radio, and out-of-home, including buys at Billy Bishop and Ottawa International airports.

Why: The challenges facing kids across Canada can be difficult to hear about, and have become more difficult since the pandemic, said Rachael MacKenzie-Neil, vice-president of marketing and development at BGC, in a release.

Many of kids served by BGC are dealing with bullying, food insecurity, gangs, and the challenges of settling in a new country. “Without the support of our Clubs and generous partners, many of these kids would otherwise fall through the cracks,” says MacKenzie-Neil.

BGC asked Round to raise the charity’s profile among corporate donors, explained Mike Davidson, partner and managing director at Round. Every year, BGC helps almost 200,000 young people across the country. “If you want to help kids, this is the place,” he said.

How:  Round  has been working with BGC for the last three years, repositioning the brand, and with campaigns that spotlight what it offers. “It was time to let people have a glimpse behind the curtain of the real-life challenges these kids face,” said Davidson.

In one TV spot, a young girl sits reading when two girls emerge from the school and approach her menacingly, grabbing her book and throwing it to the ground. The camera then points down at the legs and feet of the girls, leaving the viewer to imagine the bullying taking place.

In another, a young boy is too embarrassed to join his friends for lunch because he only has a bag of potato chips. The intent of the creative is to “raise the sense of urgency of how desperately these kids need help of BGC,” said Davidson.

In display / print ads, closeups of young faces are accompanied with story introductions that are blocked out before the difficult details are revealed. The creative directs viewers to the Unsharable Stories website, where they can read BGC success stories and information about how the charity helps kids in need.

It was important to show how BGC can have a big impact on struggling kids, said Paul Riss, co-founder and creative director at Round.  “It’s important that people know that their support makes a huge impact on these kids lives.”

And we quote: “Whether it’s an after-school drop-in program, career counselling, or our healthy living programs, they are life-changing opportunities that we are proud to provide every day.”‑ Rachael MacKenzie-Neil, vice-president of marketing and development, BGC

David Brown