The face of poverty is changing

Matching Message to Medium (BRONZE)

Client Credits: La grande guignolée des médias
Isabelle Fafard
Denise Deveau
Anne Dongois

Agency Credits: TAM-TAM\TBWA
Vice-President, General Manager & Client Leader: François Canuel
Vice-President, Creative Director: Manuel Ferrarini
Vice-President, Media Director: Yvon Gosselin
Strategic Planning Director: Simon Lusinchi
Art Director: Anne-Marie Lemay
Copywriters: Sarah-Catherine Lacroix, Étienne Soucy
Account Director: Josée Canuel
Account Executive: Sandra Dagenais
Studio Director: Michelle Turbide
Graphic Designers: Marie-Hélène Cimon, Gabrielle Turcotte, Émilie Frenette
Sound: Studio Lamajeure
Agency Producer: Mélanie Duguay
Production House: Jet Films
Director: Mélanie Charbonneau
Production House Producer: Véronique Poulin
Post-production: Slik
Music: Maxime Navert, Studio Lamajeure
Music Production: Alexandra Stréliski, Studio Lamajeure


GGM_60s_TV.mp4 (4 MB)
GGM_Case_video_EN.mp4 (397 MB)
Kijiji_Navigation_EN.mp4 (20 MB)

Attached Files

figure1.pdf (829 KB)
figure2.pdf (832 KB)
In_context_1.pdf (4 MB)
In_context_2.pdf (4 MB)

Total 1370 Words


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):November - December 2015
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: November 2015
Base Period as a Benchmark: November - December 2014
Geographic Area: Quebec
Budget for this effort: $0 - $50,000

Why should this case win in the category (ies) you have entered?
It provides an innovative and intelligent spotlight on modern-day poverty in a post-crisis economic period. Without being cloying or pointing a finger, the campaign’s new communication approach reminded people why it’s important to give to fight poverty. It quickly elicited broad attention from consumers and the media, and ultimately generated a significant increase in donations following several years of decline.

a) Describe the Client’s business, competition and relevant history:

For the last 15 years, La grande guignolée des médias (Media’s Big Food Drive) has been bringing together media from across Quebec to create a moment of solidarity during the month of December. Thousands of media professionals and volunteers get together to collect non-perishable items and cash donations to help food-aid organizations.

b) Describe the Client’s Business Issues/Opportunities to be addressed by the campaign:

The difficult socio-economic context of the last few years has had a double effect: increased poverty and reduced donations. See figure 1.

This is an even more troubling situation when you add the growing number of social causes that are trying in numerous ways to capture the public’s attention(see footnote 1) , especially during the holiday season.

The challenge: How to sensitize Quebecers to increasing poverty and make them understand that the needs are greater than ever before?

c) Resulting Business Objectives: Include how these will be measured:
The main objective was first and foremost to stem the decrease in donations and then stabilize them.

Footnote 1- In Quebec, there are currently 46,000 philanthropic organizations, or twice the number in Canada. (Source: Léger - Étude sur les tendances en philanthropie au Québec en 2014).

a) What new learnings/insights did you uncover?

In essence, the Centre d’étude sur la pauvreté et l’exclusion (Centre for poverty and social exclusion studies) raises an alarming fact: poverty in Quebec has risen since the 2008 financial crisis. Incomes below the poverty threshold increased from 8.3% in 2007 to 10.7% in 2011, and this number is on a continuing upward trend.

We are witnessing a disturbing reality of people we now call “The new poor.” These are low-income families with insufficient funds to meet their housing and food needs. And these people in need, the ones who are hungry, don’t necessarily live on the street.

b) What was your Big Idea?

Demonstrate that poverty is closer to us than we think.

Demonstrate this as much through the content and message as through the format and the media used. 

Our theme was creatively deployed across media that were offered to us free of charge and also on other customized channels we created.

c) How did your Communication strategy evolve?

To make an impression, we needed to address this new phenomenon of poverty in the most realistic manner possible, so that it no longer went unnoticed. It was the first time in 15 years that the organization took this kind of approach. Preceding campaigns had offered hackneyed messages about hunger or capitalized on celebrities from the Quebec star system to solicit donations. Non-traditional media were also used for the first time in 2015.

d) How did you anticipate the communication would achieve the Business Objectives?

To halt the decline in donations, we needed to recapture and focus consumers’ attention on a social issue perceived as being far beyond their reality. By demonstrating that this reality was a lot closer than they might think, the goal was to shed new light on the issue, get people more emotionally engaged and give them all the right reasons to give again and give more.

1 In Quebec, there are currently 46,000 philanthropic organizations, or twice the number in Canada. (Source: Léger - Étude sur les tendances en philanthropie au Québec en 2014).

Section IV — THE WORK
a) How, where and when did you execute it?

To illustrate and highlight the fact that poverty exists much closer than we might think, our approach was to position our message in environments where people would not be expecting to be engaged by an ad, and thereby create an element of surprise. 

Some initiatives (Kijiji and Express Checkout) perfectly aligned the message with the two non-traditional media that were used.


Kijiji ad and social media

A fake ad on the Kijiji classified ad site showcased a nearly new car, selling for a ridiculously low price. When they called the phone number on the ad, prospective buyers would hear a moving account: the tragic tale of the car owner, obliged to sell it to make ends meet after losing her job. At the end of the recording, people were invited to press # to make a donation.  


By using this Kijiji-disguised ad, we positioned ourselves in an environment where people didn’t anticipate being engaged with an ad, which reinforced the impact of the message and increased the share potential of the ad.


The viral effect of this campaign was instantaneous and went beyond Kijiji, connecting instantly with mass media. The campaign generated awareness and endorsements from known personalities and media that, until then, had been beyond our reach. In this way, the campaign lived much longer than the ad itself.


Ambient supermarket posters

Signs were hung under the express checkout (8 items or less) signs in grocery stores. They read: “For you, this is the express checkout. For some, 8 items is all they can afford. Give generously. – The Media's Big Food Drive”


The surprise effect was immediate, as consumers were not prepared to be engaged in such a location. Overall, it created awareness and incited people to immediately donate at the checkout or in a box placed near the exit.



In our TV spot, we decided to show the new face of poverty as it is, presenting hyper-real images using the docudrama genre. We produced a short film featuring a Quebec family that suddenly finds itself in a situation we could all be in.


The story is far from extraordinary. It portrays a single mother who loses her job, struggles to make ends meet and, ultimately, has trouble providing food and housing. The suggestion is that the slide into poverty can happen a lot faster than we might believe, and touches a much larger population than we may imagine. As well, the film is narrated from the point of view of someone who has experienced a similar situation and bears witness to this new reality.


 We produced a radio spot that underlined the almost disturbing paradox between all the various diets that exist and the descent into poverty that sometimes leads to a forced diet.

c) Media Plan Summary

The campaign, which included posters, print, videos on social media, in-store posters, a viral campaign on the Kijiji classified ad site, and radio and TV spots, was produced without any investment in paid media and was promoted via media space offered by our media partners. 

The two tactics (Kijiji classified ad site and signs at the grocery express checkout lanes) were exploited to the maximum to increase media and social media buzz.

a) How did the work impact attitudes and behaviour?

The tone of the campaign enabled us to put the subject of poverty among Quebecers back in the spotlight and to increase awareness of the gravity of the situation.

The campaign and certain tactics surprised many. The response was instantaneous.

The ad on Kijiji racked up more than 10,000 unique views (vs. an average of 1,500 views for any given classified ad), and close to 7,000 calls were made to the phone number. The ad was shared on social media, then appeared on the Twitter feeds of top local celebrities and, ultimately, in traditional media, with a final reach of more than 750,000 people (almost one in ten Quebecers).

b) What Business Results did the work achieve for the client?

This increased public awareness had a strong positive effect on donations.

While donations had been decreasing until 2014, a significant increase of $600,000 in donations (+35%) was observed in 2015. See figure 2.

Of note: the number of donations collected in 2015 was the highest in the history of The Media's Big Food Drive.

c) Other Pertinent Results

This campaign has also won numerous prestigious prizes in advertising competitions in Quebec:

Grand Prize and Prize - Créa 2016

Grand Prize and Prize - Prix Média 2016

Prize - STRAT 2015 

Prize - Créa 2015

d) What was the campaign’s Return on Investment?


With zero investment in media (donated by the various media involved) and with a minimal production budget (less than $50K), the significant increase in donations in 2015 clearly demonstrates the ROI.

Section VI — Proof of Campaign Effectiveness
a) Illustrate the direct cause and effect between the campaign and the results

  • The campaign was observably the only element that could have had an impact on donations.

b) Prove the results were not driven by other factors
Campaign spend vs. history and competition:

- As in preceding years, our media budget was nonexistent, and the production budget was minimal.
Social media campaigns were not supported by purchased media.

Pre-existing Brand momentum:

No momentum. See figure 1. 



Changes in Distribution/Availability:

  • Every year, donations to this campaign may only be made in November and December.
  • There were no technological innovations or new platforms to encourage donations.
  • No more people than usual were assigned to collect donations.

Unusual Promotional Activity:

There were no other Media's Big Food Drive campaigns during the same period or during the year.

Any other factors: