CBCF creates virtual love chain

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is attempting to create a record-breaking virtual human handholding chain to promote the CIBC Run for the Cure.

Just like the ’70s soul band the O’Jays, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation wants people all over the world to join hands.

The foundation, however, doesn’t want to start a love train. Instead, it wants to virtually create the world’s longest handholding chain to raise awareness about breast cancer and drive fundraising efforts and registration for the annual Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure on Oct. 3. The current record was set on Dec. 11, 2004 by over 5 million people who formed a chain 1,050 km long from Taknaf to Tentulia, Bangladesh.

The national campaign, developed by Toronto-based Cundari, is based online at the Handhold microsite, which went live at the beginning of August. It features photos of people worldwide with their arms outstretched, which when linked together, form the virtual human chain. Pictures can be uploaded, or taken using a webcam, and people can also include their name, city and share who they’re running for.

‘The idea came about as we challenged our creative teams to build awareness for this cause in a fresh and relevant way,’ says Brent Choi, CCO, Cundari. ‘We know that millions of Canadians are connected by breast cancer and this was a great way to bring this thought to life virtually. The thinking here is to make people feel connected, to show what can happen when we all come together.’

This is a campaign of special significance to Cundari, as its media director, Anne Wood, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.

Wood led the Cundari media team in executing a robust buy to promote the effort. National TV ads, including a mix of purchased and donated inventory, are airing in top-five programming on CTV and Global, including Global News, Days of Our Lives, As the World Turns, Canada AM, CTV News and Glee. The TV component also features presence on Canwest specialty channels Showcase, Food Network, HGTV and History.

Online, big box ads appear on Women’s Health, as well as Health and Wellness channels on Yahoo.ca, and on Yahoo email pages to increase impressions and extend reach. Sympatico’s email was also leveraged, as well as the portal’s Lifestyle and Best Health channels.

Donated OOH media inventory is also part of the mix. Suppliers including Astral, Captivate, Zoom and OBN donated resto bar executions, including ads in fitness clubs in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver; and billboards at the Yonge and Dundas, Bay and Dundas, and Yonge and Richmond intersections, and along the Gardiner expressway by the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. The buy totals 170 buildings nationally and more than 1,521 screens.

‘The media strategy was to utilize a mix of media to reach the target with multiple touchpoints,’ says Wood. ‘TV is an emotional medium and can tug on heartstrings while the outdoor provided mass eyeballs and overall awareness to the cause.’