CIBC Run for the Cure goes deeper

Ahead of its annual run, the Canadian Cancer Society looks to drive sign-ups through a renewed digital approach.

To drive participation for its annual CIBC Run for the Cure, the Canadian Cancer Society is putting “major emphasis” on digital and radio this year as it faces stiff competition in the peer-to-peer fundraising space.

The CIBC Run for the Cure is the country’s largest single-day event in support of breast cancer, but last year overall participation dropped as a result of recruiting fewer new runners. However, revenue for the run remained flat – a success, given category trends.

“The reality is that across Canada and North America, peer-to-peer fundraising is on the decline,” says Paula Roberts, EVP of marketing and communications at the Canadian Cancer Society. That trend is the result of a number of factors, she says, from other organizations tapping into the same pool of donors, to increasing demands placed on people’s time, energy and attention.

According to the organization, people sometimes feel as though their one-time contribution won’t make a difference.

Working with Juniper Park\TBWA, the non-profit set out to tackle that challenge with a renewed focus on the idea of promises. Much like the 2016 and 2017 “Changemaker” campaigns, this year’s “I Promise” platform suggests collective effort can lead to real change and help beat breast cancer, which is said to affect one in every eight women throughout their lifetimes.

With the help of Fuse Experiential Marketing on activations, Mediacom is overseeing a media plan that includes a 30-second TV ad, online videos, radio, digital display, social and out-of-home, as well as assets in CIBC banking centres. The campaign will help drive sign-ups until the day of the run, on Sunday, Sept. 30.

The Canadian Cancer Society has put a “major emphasis” on digital this year to target a more “granular level” and reach people with a call-to-action on the same device they could use to sign up for the run, says Roberts. By managing 56 individual run sites across Canada and tracking digital ad performance, the organization has valuable insight into which markets need further marketing support, she says.

Moreover, regional radio is another “major component” of the media plan as it helps the Canadian Cancer Society reach local audiences and leverage its strong grassroots presence in various communities across Canada.

In the past, Roberts says the tendency was to create a new campaign every year. But since introducing “Changemaker,” the creative concept has remained more or less the same, but with additional focus on the channels that have connected the most with Canadians.

“Making a promise is a powerful thing. The idea of a commitment resonates with people,” says Roberts. “This notion was a cornerstone of last year’s campaign and we decided to make it the primary focus for this year.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misrepresented the number of individual contributions received for the CIBC Run for the Cure. Strategy regrets the error.