CBC gets set to Live Right Now

Unveiled at the pubcaster's upfront yesterday, the Ceeb is embarking on a cross-platform campaign to get Canadians to live healthier. Loblaw is on board with title sponsorship.

CBC is out to improve the lives of Canadians, one healthy choice at a time.

Starting this January, the public broadcaster is embarking on a multi-platform CSR-style campaign called ‘Live Right Now,’ an initiative to promote healthier living for Canadians.

The centrepiece of the campaign is a new 10-part reality show the network has created called Village on a Diet, debuting Monday, Jan. 3 at 9 p.m. The show follows a team of health practitioners who set out to reform the unhealthy ways of the residents of Taylor, BC. The program debuted yesterday morning to an audience of media buyers and advertisers as the network unveiled its winter programming slate.

The start of Village on a Diet also marks the start of the ‘Live Right Now’ platform. Like the network’s previous ‘One Million Acts of Green’ campaign, the initiative aims to bring Canadians into the CBC’s fold via its media properties.

Although it will involve CBC, CBC.ca and CBC Radio One, social media will be the main driver for public engagement, CBC presenter George Stroumboulopolous told the assembled audience at the (very healthy) lunchtime presentation following the upfronts.

‘This is mainly an online campaign; this is about social media,’ he said, adding that ‘Live Right Now’ marks the largest-ever social media endeavour the CBC has undertaken.

Loblaw Companies has signed on to the program as a premiere corporate sponsor, and the Ontario Medical Association is on board as a sponsor as well. The OMA’s sponsorship includes a ‘Doctor’s Office’ section of the microsite, while Loblaw branding will be featured on the site’s Food and Nutrition channels, shopping list section, sponsored recipes and live chats.

The program also has a print media partnership with Canadian Living magazine, with which it also partners for afternoon cooking show Best Recipes Ever.

Media elements of the six-month campaign include a microsite, CBC.ca/LiveRightNow; the Million Pound Challenge, in which Canadians are encouraged to lose a collective one million pounds before summer; a week of themed editorial on CBC News; and a documentary following a group of school children training to run a marathon.

‘One Million Acts of Green’ marked a similar effort to engage the public by the CBC, which challenged Canadians to commit to doing at least one environmentally friendly deed in their lives by publically stating their intention on the campaign’s website. The website registered one million ‘acts’ in 105 days, generated 1.8 million page views, captured an average of 17 minutes of each visitor’s time, and generated a significant amount of PR.

The pubcaster also unveiled its fall schedule yesterday, with several new shows including Village; a new half-hour ‘action comedy’ InSecurity, premiering Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 8:30 p.m.; Make the Politicians Work, a new five-part series airing in January (the pilot aired Sept. 2009); and Pillars of the Earth, a miniseries based on the best-selling Ken Follet novel that will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. starting Jan. 4.

Returning to the Ceeb’s programming lineup this winter are 18 to Life and Little Mosque on the Prairie on Mondays at 8 and 8:30 p.m., respectively, and Republic of Doyle on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m., which delivered steady ratings for the network last fall, averaging 750,000 viewers (2+) per episode.

In an interview following the upfront, Kirstine Stewart, GM, CBC English Television, told MiC that the broadcaster has rebounded in the past two years, and the public’s confidence is allowing it to be increasingly bold with its programming.

‘We had to rebuild a relationship with the Canadian public, and we’re getting there with these shows,’ she said. ‘Now that we have that trust, I think we can take the audience further.’