Physiotherapist Association stretches into TV

Launching its first-ever national TV and print campaign during Olympic coverage this week, the Canadian Physiotherapists Association has quadrupled its media budget for the year to help raise awareness about the vocation.

Behind any good athlete is a good physiotherapist. Or at least that’s what the Canadian Physiotherapist Association is hoping Canadian viewers will think as they watch nearly super-human stunts by our athletes. This week, the association is launching its first-ever national TV and print campaign during the coverage of the Olympic Games in order to raise awareness about the profession.

In order to afford a three-month long campaign, the association had to increase their media budget four-fold, Alice Aiken, president of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, tells MiC

‘Launching a national ad campaign is a major effort and quite an expensive one,’ says Aiken. But despite the cost, the Olympics provide an ideal opportunity to combine their message with outside influencers, because physiotherapy is highlighted at the Olympics, she explains.

For example, a lot of press is focused on athletes recovering from their injuries. On his daily CTV series The Difference Makers, Rick Hansen featured the therapist who helped Canadian downhill racer Jan Hudec. In addition to the athletes’ personal doctors, the Canadian team has a leading physiotherapist, there’s a chief physiotherapist for the Olympic Committee, and even the VANOC Committee has its own chief on hand.

‘It’s also a time when everybody starts thinking about getting in better shape,’ says Aiken. Their target demo is ‘Dr. Mom’ – women between the ages of 35 and 50 who take care of their families or their elderly parents. The association has also launched a new website with a Physio-finder, at

With creative and media developed by Vancouver-based ad agency Hotshop, the ads will air on CTV, TSN, and Sportsnet as well as CBC ‘s News Network and TVA’s Salut Bonjour. A print ad campaign will follow in May to extend the message for for National Physiotherapy Month.

The organization is hoping consumers will increase the number of consultations and treatments, should they need them, if they are acquainted with important facts about physiotherapy – for example, more than 60% of Canadians don’t realize that they do not need a doctor’s referral to consult a physiotherapist.