2017 Strategy Awards: RBC’s patriotic pledge

The brand encouraged youth across Canada to make an impact in their communities.


Gold: Canada 150 Strategy

Canada’s 150th is an opportunity for brands to connect with their audience over a common theme, but it can also be overcrowded with loud patriotism and celebratory programs.

Something drastically different was required. Instead of an elaborate marketing campaign or another sponsorship, RBC and Grip Limited decided to commemorate Canada’s 150th by demonstrating the brand’s commitment to Canadian communities, and specifically Canadian youth.

Young Canadians are capable of great things, and RBC wanted to help them prove it. So it gave thousands of teens and young adults $150 each, with no strings attached, challenging them to show how they would use it to make an impact in their community — essentially, to “Make 150 Count.”

How they used the money was entirely up to them. They were asked to share their stories with the brand and through their own social networks. People did things like purchase school supplies to help integrate Syrian children into classrooms, buy newborn care packages for teen moms without support, and throw a surprise New Year’s Eve party for terminally ill children. From the smallest acts of kindness to the creation of community initiatives, youth across the country used their $150 to make a lasting impact.

These stories have been brought to life through TV, as well as a targeted and contextually relevant online distribution strategy that was created in partnership with various social platforms, including Google. The RBC branch and employee network, as well as existing partnerships and sponsorships (including WE Day, World Juniors and local activations) were leveraged to further its reach.

The campaign helped enhance the RBC brand by demonstrating its commitment to communities, while tracking 440 million impressions (at submission time) — all driven by youth-created stories. More than 100 stories were posted in national and local media, generating 26.7 million media impressions.

The brand engaged clients and communities coast-to-coast and as far north as Nunavut. It showcased 2,920 young Canadians (and counting) and the impact they’ve had on their friends, causes, neighbourhoods and nation.

The campaign also created a groundswell of support from RBC employees. In total, 55,000 employees interacted with the program, making it one of the most successful employee engagement campaigns executed to date at RBC.

Brand | RBC
Agency | Grip Limited
Director, brand strategy and planning | Tim Binkley
Director, strategy | Georgia Fong