Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marketing that Makes a Difference - Childhood Cancer Foundation 2009 Fundraiser

STAYIN' ALIVE is the Childhood Cancer Foundation's annual fundraiser created to help raise funds for their cause. This is one of those meaningful marketing campaigns that run under the radar, working on small budgets and the sheer elbow grease of dedicated individuals who make a significant difference to people’s lives. The Childhood Cancer Foundation runs such campaigns out of a small office in Toronto manned by four individuals. The foundation helps support children afflicted with cancer and their families. They produce brochures and educational kits for these families and run fundraising initiatives which provide funding for childhood cancer research. While you and I may be relaxing on the weekend, putting up our feet in front of the TV, Mary Lye, their Director of Marketing and Communications, can be found personally spearheading their community-based, local fundraisers, whether this is at a local mall, at a Marlies’ hockey game, or at the University of Ottawa’s Shave for the Cure fundraiser ..... Creative to the core, Mary also drives their new online initiatives that see teenagers with cancer being able to communicate and connect with each other through a private social network found on the CCFC website at

(Click to enlarge image)

The Childhood Cancer Foundation relies heavily on their annual October fundraiser, STAYIN’ALIVE to support their programs. This year, on October 29, 2009 the STAYIN’ ALIVE gala will transform the Palais Royale in Toronto into an upbeat social event. The sounds of live Cuban music will have supporters tapping their toes to Latin rhythms, sharing conversations over exotic dishes, and exchanging quips while considering bids on silent auction items.

For those unable to attend this wonderful gala-event, contributions are warmly accepted online at

Tickets for STAYIN’ALIVE can be purchased at The event also includes a silent auction where participants can bid on an opportunity to skate with the Marlies, Toronto’s junior A hockey team, or bid on a personal portrait created by portraitist, children’s book illustrator, musician, and Jazz FM show host Laura Fernandez, or Toronto Raptors’ tickets, just to name a few items in their silent auction!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Twitter Fundraiser Engages Drew Carey to donate $1 Million to Cancer

Combine the power of Twitter with the cache of celebrity endorsement and you have a powerful fundraiser ready to roll. Comedian Drew Carey, and the host of CBS’ The Price is Right has put his celebrity name to work, using his ability to drum up publicity to draw attention to an individual’s personal fundraiser. After seeing an @ message through Twitter, Carey was alerted to the fact that cancer afflicted Drew Olanoff was auctioning off the name @drew as a fundraiser for LiveStrong, a cancer research foundation started by the cyclist Lance Armstrong. Drew Carey initially bid $25,000, increasing the amount to $100,000 if he managed to reach 100,000 followers on his Twitter account. A few days later, on a live broadcast of a CBS morning show, (host station of The Price is Right), Drew Carey exponentially increased the amount to $1 million if he managed to reach 1 million followers on his twitter account by December 31, 2009, thus demonstrating the power of social media to spread the word. Drew Carey also offered to pro-rate his donation if a lesser number of followers was reached.

The result? Drew Carey’s Twitter followers increased from 13,000 on October 3 when he first put in his bid for the @drew Twitter name, to 50,000 on October 7, after the CBS broadcast. By October 16, his Twitter followers had reached 99,473 and counting...!

Drew Olanoff, a 29 year old blogger and avid social media user from LA has been fighting Hodgkin's disease since May 2009 and turned to the power of social media to help him through his illness and raise funds for cancer research. Blogs, Tweets, and websites have given him a sense of support and community, while his, “Blame Drew's Cancer” campaign provides a sense of purpose and meaning.

You can find Drew Olanoff at @drew and @BlameDrewsCancer on Twitter. You can also follow his campaign’s progress on the campaign website at where people are invited to blame the small and not so small things that go wrong in their lives on Drew’s cancer. People are invited to tweet their woes on Twitter with the hashtag #blameDrewsCancer. Well intended tweets use humour to cheer on Drew Olanoff is his battle with cancer. The tweets intentionally range from the sublime to the ridiculous and come from friends, from people unknown, and from well known celebrities. Actress Alyssa Milano BlamesDrewsCancer for the Dodgers losing their game, while a_inawindstorm BlamesDrewsCancer for a car needing new tires. To date, almost 14,000 people have blamed over 33,000 things on Drew’s cancer.

The, “Blame Drew's Cancer” campaign is also using the power of YouTube to spread Drew Olanoff’s social media campaign to his friends, supporters, and well wishers. Friend and music artist Paul Dateh wrote the song, “Blame Drew's Cancer,” weaving it into a music video that encourages viewers to add their name to the cause. You can watch this musical message and tribute at and add your support by tweeting your woes at

You can join Drew Olanoff’s fundraiser by following @DrewFromTV on Drew Carey’s Twitter account at Each follower will result in a $1 donation from Drew Carey to the LiveStrong foundation, (up to a maximum of $1 million). Details can be found at and Drew Carey’s personal blog at

Below you can watch the Drew Carey’s CBS interview where he announces his $1 million pledge, a CNN Skype interview between Drew Carey and Drew Olanoff, and listen to Paul Dateh’s YouTube music video tribute to his friend.

CBS Interview with Drew Carey

Watch CBS News Videos Online

CNN Skype interview with Drew Olanof and Drew Carey


Paul Dateh’s YouTube song, “Blame Drew's Cancer”

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have you met SALTY from Unilever’s Knorr Sidekicks?

It isn’t often that a sodium reduced product gets attention, but this initiative from Unilever’s Knorr Sidekicks manages to take a humdrum food item and give it a cute emotional twist that makes even the most cynical viewer smile. Introduced in late August with an integrated marketing communications program that uses magazine ads, TV spots, and a microsite, consumers are introduced to SALTY in a TV spot that drives the campaign. In an effort to meet consumers’ demand for healthier food choices, Knorr Sidekicks have introduced low sodium versions of over 20 items in their Sidekicks’ line, essentially replacing them with a lower salt version of the original. Now items such as rice with Cheddar and Broccoli, Scalloped Potatoes, and Butter & Herb Pasta come with 25% less sodium.

The TV ad, SALTY, uses animation and live action, centered over a sound track of Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” to engage the viewer in the spot. Alone, many may tout these elements as ordinary, soppy, or even annoying, but they manage to cleverly work together in this spot, making one hope that the animated character SALTY, may surface in another spot for the product ... maybe even become an emblem for other Knorr salt-reduced products.

Initially, Unilever were undecided as to whether SALTY would become a mascot, inevitably waiting to see how this little soul fares in the world of commercial clutter and consumer feedback! I’m rooting for SALTY, a visual hybrid of sorts between a Fisher-Price/Play Mobile/Charlie Brown type figure, (definite Mom appeal here), complete with cliché story-book emotions that see him dejectedly crying in the rain, taking shelter near abandoned beer bottles in lonely back alleys – yes, definitely reading too much into the ad, but rather hoping that SALTY comes back – who knows where the story might lead? And to think that we are talking about a salt shaker! Clearly, the character is able, in a few short seconds, to create emotional links between the brand and the viewer.

The microsite at, is fully integrated into the campaign, showing SALTY in the opening screen and humourously using a short slide-show of snap shots to take one down SALTY’S memory lane. In addition, the microsite provides recipes, dinner planners, time savers, tips on healthier eating, and product information. It also allows consumers to sign up for monthly newsletters which provide recipes and tips, thus providing the Knorr Sidekicks’ brand with a database of consumers to which they can market directly.

Below you can see the SALTY commercial for Knorr Sidekicks and the making of the SALTY ad which cleverly demonstrates the intricacies that go into a spot that intertwines animation with live action footage. SALTY'S character development, design, and digital modeling was crafted by Bigshot Toyworks, the animation created by Sons & Daughters, and the spot directed by David Hicks for ad agency DDB Canada.

“Salty” for Sidekicks

The Making of “Salty” for Knorr Sidekicks

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cadbury Eyebrows Campaign with a Canadian Twist (October 15, 2009 update)

The fun Cadbury Eyebrows campaign from the UK is now officially in Canada with an added twist that makes it uniquely Canadian! “Have you found the Eyebrow Language decoder on yet?” This starts the latest Canadian Tweet for @DairyMilkCanada on Twitter. Already enjoying over 735 followers, (October 15, 2009) Cadbury Dairy Milk is Tweeting about their fun new EYEBROWS campaign which originated earlier this year in the UK, and is currently unfolding in Canada with a set of unique creative elements that is getting a buzz. Some people love the campaign while others wonder about its relevancy to chocolate! For the sceptics, the connection is made clear by Cadbury, irreverently poking fun at itself on its YouTube channel, stating that the ad is, “Yet another feat of ridiculousness and joy,” a feat that gets attention, starts conversations, and creates memorable engagement with a product that too is fun. This Cadbury Eyebrows ad is linked below, (

The Canadian Cadbury Eyebrows campaign engages chocolate lovers with TV spots, billboard ads, transit ads, and commuter newspaper ads. It also interacts with Canadian consumers through the social media they use. Twitter, (@DairyMilkCanada), directs followers to YouTube mash-ups and a microsite. Its Canadian Facebook Dairy Milk Eyebrows page, (, entices people to become fans and win chocolate for a year. Its YouTube channel, (, provides a forum for video responses, comments, video ratings, and viewings. The Eyebrows ad currently boasts 4,855,072 views on YouTube, 12,892 comments, and 123 video responses from around the world – all creating a buzz for their chocolate, (October 15, 2009).

Below you can see a video response/spoof that is posted on the Cadbury Glass and a Half Full YouTube channel,

Also unique to Canada is the billboard, transit, and commuter daily newspaper campaign, EYEBROW LANGUAGE, which you can see in Toronto and Vancouver. This part of the Eyebrows campaign teases consumers with ...     “Wheel of Fortune / hangman-type” ads that ask people to decipher the message by going to the Cadbury Dairy Milk microsite at Here a language decoder is provided together with other fun elements such as a downloadable ringtone from the commercial's song, "Don’t Stop the Rock," by Freestyle.

The daily commuter newspaper ads are designed with the characteristics of the media in mind. Ads run in the daily commuter newspapers Metro and 24 Hours in Toronto and Vancouver over a 4 week period. The headlines are written in “Eyebrow Language” and ask the readers to decipher the message. Cleverly, the first ad of the week brings attention to the campaign, the second ad of the week engages the reader with an opportunity to win a prize, and the third ad of the week provides information on the contest-event which occurred the previous day! Ads that took place early in the campaign in Toronto had decoders go to a local mall at a specific time, twirl, clap three times, and yell chocolate to win a prize. Video clips and photos of these mini-events are being uploaded to the microsite for this campaign.

You can enjoy mash-ups of the Cadbury Eyebrows Campaign at

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Monday, October 5, 2009

War Child Canada has Toronto Busking for Change!

For the second year in a row the streets of Toronto were flooded with musicians as top music artists and less well known musicians busked for change on September 29, 2009 to raise money and increase awareness for War Child Canada. Busking for Change successfully raised money for War Child Canada on the streets of Toronto and Calgary with over $100,000 being raised in 2009, over double the amount raised in 2008! War Child Canada is a young charity, (founded in 1999), that provides humanitarian assistance to children afflicted by war. The charity has well known associations with the music industry and uses social media to spread the world and garner support from individuals. It communicates through its YouTube channel,, and its website at In addition, it uses Facebook to communicate to "fans,", MySpace to post music tracks from its fundraising albums,, and Twitter to spread the word on fundraisers and cause-related issues. War Child Canada has been recognised over the years for its inventive and creative marketing approaches that yield results.

Busking for Change was pioneered three years ago by Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace and three years later approximately 50 recording artists busked for change for War Child Canada on the streets of Toronto, a similar event taking place later in the week in Calgary. Chantal Kreviazuk, who lends her name to a number of charitable causes, and is married to Raine Maida, led the way at First Canadian Place, determined to raise $30,000 for War Child Canada and specifically for a Darfur youth centre. Other musicians such as Sass Jordan, Shiloh, Brian Melo, Never Ending White Lights, ill Scarlett, and USS, just to name a few, could also be found Busking for Change and wooing pedestrians to part with their change for War Child Canada. One could also donate online to this cause at

War Child Canada has a well known association with the music world. Earlier this year singer song-writer Liam Titcomb spearheaded a two month summer fundraiser, traveling across Canada to raise money for the cause – his inspiration, involvement in Busking for Change last year in Toronto and seeing the generosity of the human spirit.

War Child Canada recognises the power of music and the ability of well known recording artists to rally people around their cause. They released three albums over the last few years, benefit compilations, with contributions from celebrated music artists such as McCartney, Radiohead, and Our Lady Peace. The latest album, HEROES, released in Canada in March 2009, included 16 cover songs selected by top musicians from their music repertoire. Each musician designated a more recent artist of their choice to record their song selection for the War Child fundraiser. The album was released in the UK, the US, and Canada. Music icons that lent their support to the War Child fundraiser are Bob Dylan, Roxy Music, The Clash, Paul McCartney, U2, David Bowie, Joy Division, The Kinks, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, The Ramones, Blondie, and Leonard Cohen. You can hear clips from the War Child HEROES album on MySpace at Further details on War Child Canada’s marketing efforts can be found at .

Below you can see War Child Canada's promotional piece for Busking for Change, a video clip on the event from the Torontoist, and a fundraising piece for War Child Canada from Chantal Kreviazuk.

Busking for Change promotional piece from War Child Canada

Torontoist video clip from Busking for Change

Busking for Change initiative for War Child Canada from Chantal Kreviazuk

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