The YMCA takes back community

The charitable organization attempts to rebuild the real world with a new campaign.

Why do we have more friends on Facebook than in the real world?
That’s the kind of reality check the YMCA poses in its new campaign to question the modern notion of community.
Developed by TBWAVancouver, the effort, which launched in April, revolves around the opening of the Robert Lee YMCA in downtown Van City.
Messaging throughout the Lower Mainland aims to remind people that in this fast-paced, high-tech world, where making personal connections is often more difficult than in yesteryear, the YMCA can bring people together in positive ways.
“We wanted to modernize the YMCA and make them culturally relevant again,” says Paul Little, CD, TBWAVancouver.
“The strategy was to connect on a grassroots, but very emotional level [about] what the YMCA can offer people in a thought-provoking way.”
Wild postings asking “Why do we prefer iPods to conversation?” and “When did smiling at someone on the street become creepy?” drive to Wheredidcommunitygo.com.
An animated viral highlights how disconnected people have become from one another and positions the YMCA as a place where community can be fostered.
Guerrilla activities are set to roll out over the summer, including spontaneous installations of foosball and ping-pong tables throughout downtown Vancouver.
Over 400 yoga mats will also be hung up around the city, and once removed will reveal a tactical ad driving to the May 3 grand opening of the Robert Lee YMCA, as will print ads appearing in Lower Mainland newspapers.

advertiser: YMCA
agency: TBWAVancouver
CD: Paul Little
copywriter: Mia Thomsett
AD: John Williamson
agency producers: Catharine Chesterman, Jen Mete
director: Isaac King
production company: Head Gear Animation, Toronto
producer: Kathryn Rawson
sound design: Wave Productions, Vancouver
music: Apollo Studios