YTV’s trade challenge sparks consumer campaign

The network's social-media petition lobby to recognize Family Day in all provinces aims to reinforce the channel as a media buyer-friendly family station.

YTV is looking to reinforce its position as Canada’s channel for families.

‘We’ve got the audience, so that’s not really an issue,’ says Laura Baehr, VP, marketing, Corus Kids. ‘But, we still struggle on a business front with a media buyer, or planner, who maybe doesn’t watch YTV, or an advertiser who says ‘no, I don’t want to buy kids TV.”

What was initially a trade campaign targeting potential media partners, promoting YTV as a place where they can attract the eyeballs of both parents and kids, became a consumer effort that places the station in the role of official sponsor and head lobbyist for a national Family Day – a holiday currently celebrated only in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

‘The thought was if we can create a bit of a movement to make sure everyone in Canada gets a Family Day, it’s great proof in the pudding that YTV is about families,’ says Martin Beauvais, ECD at Toronto-based Zig, who developed the campaign. Media planning and buying was handled by Starcom and YTV.

The effort centres on a microsite, where Canadians can sign a petition to have Family Day recognized in all provinces and territories. YTV’s goal is to create the world’s longest signature, one that stretches across Canada from coast to coast. Each new signature on the petition is added to the front of YTV’s cross-country John Hancock, and its progress can be tracked on the microsite using a Google satellite image.

YTV’s petition campaign is supported by social media, a TV spot developed in-house to air on Corus channels, and wild postings and ambient signs appearing in family-oriented locations like rinks and toboggan hills.