Raising the Roof raises awareness too

A pro bono campaign from Leo Burnett helps the national charity focus on homeless youth.

Raising the Roof wants to change how Canadians think about homeless youth so one day it might help put a roof, not just a toque, over their heads.
The Toronto-based national charity, dedicated to finding long-term solutions to homelessness, recently launched a new campaign aiming to help get kids off the streets – an attempt to prevent chronic homelessness by tackling the issue when people are young.  The pro bono effort developed by Leo Burnett in Toronto (the first since taking over from Grey Canada) is the first time the charity’s focused on youth.
Three TV spots are part of the mix, including one depicting a couple refurbishing a chair they find at the side of the road, the implication being that they see it as more deserving of a second chance than a displaced youth. It features the tagline “Homeless youth have nothing but potential.” Radio, OOH and transit ads are also included. The charity worked with Starcom to secure donated media space.
“The strategy is to make people think about how they treat homeless youth and make them realize every day they walk by kids on the street that they don’t think twice about,” says Steve Persico, copywriter, Leo Burnett. “It’s about making people realize their behaviour.”
“And if we can get them to say hi, or just to think about them, we did our job,” adds art director Anthony Chelvanathan.
The creative drives to Facebook where visitors are provided with more info on the charity and its cause, as well as a list of actions that can help effect change, like buying a toque, saying hi to a homeless youth or making donations. Since 1997, Raising the Roof has given over $3 million to more than 117 partner agencies across Canada to help reduce homelessness at the community level. 

advertiser: Raising the Roof
agency: Leo Burnett
CDs: Judy John, Lisa Greenberg               
copywriter: Steve Persico
AD: Anthony Chelvanathan                               
agency producer: Franca Piacente
photographer: Frank Hoedl                                      
art buyer: Leila Courey                                             
print producers: Gladys Bachand,
Kimberley Burchiel
account director: Natasha Dagenais                                                                                              
account planning: Brent Nelsen,
Ian Westworth
director: Laurence Thrush
DP: Gary Young
prodco: Suneeva
production producers: Geoff Cornish,
Erica Parks
music house: Grayson Matthews
music directors: Dave Sorbara, Tom Westin
voice director: Karen Goora
editing: Panic & Bob
editor: Mariam Fahmy
exec. producer: Sam McLaren