Cundari wins Chartwell

The agency picks up an integrated assignment with Canada's largest operator of senior living homes.

Chartwell Retirement Residences, Canada’s largest operator of senior living communities, has picked Toronto’s Cundari as its new agency of record.

With Canada’s aging population, Chartwell is looking to increase its marketing activity to take advantage of a surge in demand for seniors housing over the next 15 years.

“Demographics are on our side. Demand will increase,” said Sharon Henderson, VP of marketing and communications at Chartwell in a release. “However, for Chartwell to remain the leader in the market, we have to ensure we keep developing marketing and advertising initiatives that strengthen Chartwell as the most recognized national brand in the sector.”

As AOR, Cundari will be Chartwell’s full-service agency partner, handling brand strategy, creative, media and digital optimization. The agency’s first work will be a national campaign, expected to roll out later this year.

Jenn Steinmann, president of Cundari, said in the release that the most pressing creative challenge the agency will address is the stigma associated with retirement living. On top of that, the target audience – adult children looking to find a home for their parents – is resistant to seniors living, as they either intentionally avoid thinking about it or have yet to consider it as a possibility.

“There’s a significant amount of stigma associated with the seniors living category,” said Steinmann. “It’s an emotional process and a difficult decision to help a loved one decide if a seniors home is the right solution, so engaging families and the community in the positive outcomes will be a big part of the marketing approach we develop for Chartwell.”

Cundari picked up the assignment following a review that began in the fall. Chartwell had previously worked with Alfred and OMD in Montreal since 2014. The agency switch is coinciding with a shift from leading its marketing out of its Montreal office, but recently moved that leadership to its national corporate office in Toronto.

Chartwell is Canada’s largest operator of housing communities for seniors, with over 200 properties in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. According to its Q4 and full-year results for 2018, it experienced a net loss of $13.1 million – due to higher taxes, property operating expenses, depreciation, finance costs and lease cancellation fees to terminate its head office lease – but reported $18.5 net income for the full year. Occupancy changes for its properties were relatively flat, dropping 0.8% for the year.