4-H makes its pitch to urbanites

Who: 4-H Canada, with Edelman Canada for strategy and creative; New York-based Roof Studio for animation and sound; Mindblown Lab for post-production.

What: “4-H Forever,” a short film aimed at inspiring a new generation of members and volunteers to join the organization by showing how it prepares young people for their future, and how the skills they learn there remain with them for life. It’s Edelman’s first work for 4-H.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, running in English and French across social media, programmatic, and connected TV, with a broad focus on audiences 18-54.

Why: 4-H has made growing awareness of its brand one of the tentpoles of its 2021-25 strategic plan, with a focus on national initiatives that “tell the 4-H story and elevate 4-H in Canada as a leader in positive youth development.”

The organization has been in Canada since 1913, and is firmly established in rural communities—with 62.1% of its 17,434 members coming from a farm, according to its annual report. Just 11% of its members come from urban centres, and 4-H has been exploring ways to modernize the brand and recruit more people from those locations, with diversity, equity and inclusion as a priority.

The goal of the film is to raise awareness and inspire participation in 4-H among a wider group of Canadians, which meant speaking to a new volunteer base and re-engaging alumni audiences, said Edelman’s chief creative officer, Anthony Chelvanathan. “We understood 4-H Canada’s desire to evolve its brand, while respecting its 100+ year history, and presented it with a nostalgia-based, emotional storyline.”

How: The 90-second film shows a diverse group of 4-H members learning and bonding though shared activities, first with a community garden and then over a more ambitious plan to build a new community centre.

The film subtly shows the passage of time as the group of four goes about their task, with sunlight playing a key role in the film’s visual aesthetic. “This focused approach crafts an immersive world, where sunlight not only enhances realism but also warmly illuminates the children’s journey, adding depth and symbolizing hope and unity,” said Roof Studio creative director Vinicius Costa.

And we quote: “[The characters’] unique stylized forms spawned the world building around them. The spaces they interact with are never squared perfectly; we let the forms flow to infuse realism in our render with an organic spatial dynamic. The overall mood we wanted was to feel like a dream, a memory.” — Lucas Camargo, director, creative director and art director, Roof Studio

Chris Powell