The first-ever Sleep Day will raise funds for Sleeping Children Around the World, a charity that provides bedkits to children in developing countries.
The charity is requesting a donation of $5 for corporate participants and $2 for students to wear their pyjamas the day of the event, and post photos and updates on social media using #SleepDay.
Sleep Country Canada is the lead corporate sponsor with a radio PSA featuring co-founder Christine Magee. In addition, Sleep Country and Choice Hotels will be creating activations for the event.
“We wanted to create a signature idea for the charity,” says Julie Rusciolelli, president of Maverick, which conceived the concept, branding, microsite, social media and marketing campaign for the event on a pro bono basis. Maverick has been doing work for the charity for more than eight years.
“It’s a very humble, modest, but successful charity,” she says, noting that all money raised goes directly to the cause of helping children in challenging conditions sleep better with the help of bed kits.
Sleeping Children Around the World was founded in 1970 by Murray and Margaret Dryden (parents of former hockey great and politician Ken Dryden) when they tripped over a kid sleeping on the street in India. The charity helps children get adequate sleep so they can develop to their potential.
“We believe that it is the basic right of every child to have a comfortable night’s sleep,” says Dave Dryden, chair of Sleeping Children Around the World (and Ken’s brother).
Since its founding, the charity has raised more than $40 million to provide bedkits for more than 1.4 million children in 34 countries. Every $35 donation provides a bedkit that includes bedding and a mattress or mat and can include mosquito nets and backpacks with school supplies, clothing and footwear. All items are locally sourced where possible, providing additional positive impact on the economy of the local community.
The idea of Sleep Day is to create a campaign that can become an annual event rather than a one-time wonder, Rusciolelli says.
“Pyjamas is probably a lot easier to do than throwing ice water on someone’s head,” she says, referring to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. “We think that pyjamas ties in nicely with the brand. It’s a reminder of how sleep is incredibly important and there’s children in developing countries that have nothing to sleep on.”
Holding the event on Nov. 4, two days before clocks are moved back one hour, was intentional, Rusciolelli adds. “It kind of puts people in the mood they can sleep all weekend.”
An “aggressive” goal of $100,000 has been set for the event, she says.