Cherie MacLeod, national executive director for PFLAG in Moncton, NB, said the campaign, which uses more than $500,000 in donated media space and time, is PFLAG’s largest since its Canadian debut in 1985.
The centrepiece of the television, print, out-of-home and online campaign from Draftfcb’s Toronto office is a series of 14 video testimonials featuring members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally community.
The videos, housed on a dedicated YouTube site, document people’s experiences in coming out, and feature both a blend of everyday people and TV personalities including former National Ballet of Canada principal dancer and So You Think You Can Dance Canada judge Rex Harrington (see below) and HGTV personality Terry Edward Briceland.
“Stories are the mechanism through which we support each other and inspire people to carry forward,” said MacLeod. “We’ve always believed that the more connected we are, the more we can help create a safer world. This is definitely a reflection of the work that we do and how we want to inspire Canadians.”
A series of print ads tease the videos with pictures of the video participants and messages that are partly obscured by a QR code, urging interested readers to scan the ad to reveal more information.
An ad featuring Harrington, for example, reads “I don’t think of myself as gay. I think of myself as….” with the rest of the sentence obscured by a QR code. The ads also feature a URL for a dedicated website at Stories.PFLAGCanada.ca.
“The use of QR codes is catching on, and we felt that this was a really great opportunity to use something that was new and progressive and showcased the fact that PFLAG Canada is moving forward and embracing new technologies to get its message out,” said MacLeod. “It’s such an exciting opportunity to connect with people who are very social media savvy. It’s a wonderful hook on work we’ve been doing for a long time.”
The PFLAG Canada campaign was a silver winner in the new Not-For-Profit category at the National Advertising Awards earlier this year, with judge Dave Douglass, co-chief creative officer at Cossette, noting that a challenging subject was handled with “tact and intelligence.”