Big Brothers Big Sisters’ multicultural tie-in

The organization teamed up with Loblaw-owned stores for a South Asian-targeted awareness play.

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A Toronto-area Big Brothers Big Sisters has partnered with various Loblaw-owned stores on a multicultural marketing play that’s a literal tie-in to its name.

Earlier this month, the organization created an in-store awareness and fundraising campaign centred on the South Asian festival of Raksha Bandan (often called Rakhi), which celebrates the bonds between brothers and sisters. As part of the festival, sisters typically tie a decorative bracelet on their brothers (or other important males with that relationship) as a symbol of their bond.

For its promotion, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel created its own Rakhi bracelets in the organization’s signature purple to be sold at 11 Real Canadian Superstore, Fortinos and No Frills locations in the region from Aug. 3 to Aug. 20.

The idea came from the regional chapter’s demographically changing area, as more newcomers are joining the community, says Angel Massey-Singh, VP of the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel. As the face of Peel has been changing, the organization has launched new programs focused on English language, homework help and other resources, she says.

Still, it wanted to create a South Asian-specific promotion to bring awareness to its work, raise funds and potentially recruit new volunteers. After a roundtable discussion, including Ethnicity Multicultural Marketing and Advertising partner and co-founder Bobby Sahni, it forged the partnership with Loblaw.

For its part, the grocery giant has also been looking for ways to speak more to its South Asian shoppers, Massey-Singh says.

While it’s too early for specific results, anecdotal feedback showed that South Asian shoppers were pleased to see the bracelets for sale and that the stores were cognizant of the festival, she says.

The hope is to continue the promotion next year, with possible plans for more POS materials to better explain the significance of Rakhi to those who may not know about the festival. The regional chapter will also share its idea with other Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations who work in communities with a large South Asian demographic.

The specific tie-in with Rakhi is a particularly good one for the organization and until now, other brands or organizations haven’t done many activations around it, making it a somewhat ownable event for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Massey-Singh says.