CIBC Run for the Cure keeps its ‘promise’

This year's campaign builds on a successful call to action to maintain engagement in a challenging fundraising space.


The Canadian Cancer Society and CIBC are continuing to deepen emotional connections ahead of the 2019 Run for the Cure in order to ensure it continues to be a success story in the fundraising space.

The campaign for this year’s edition of the fundraising event, “The T-shirts We Wear,” features two women, one who is a breast cancer survivor and CIBC employee and another who is currently living with metastatic breast cancer.

Pamela Mollica, VP of communications for the Canadian Cancer Society, says the campaign boils down to a singular call to action – sign up – which is driven home in every piece of creative and every media platform. “The overall goal is revenue, but we can’t get there without our participants,” she says.

Mollica tells strategy that the spots are upbeat and hopeful, and that the combination of stop-motion and t-shirt graphics are designed for social, where it is targeting an audience of women between the ages of 35 and 54. Andrew Greenlaw, VP of community and client relationships at CIBC, adds that it is meant to demonstrate real people having a real impact, since the primary audience for the campaign is those personally affected by breast cancer and upbeat storytelling can inspire that group to affect lives in a positive way.

According to Mollica, across Canada and North America, peer-to-peer fundraising is on the decline because of a highly competitive charity landscape tapping into the same pool of donors, as well as the many demands made on people’s time and attention. But the Canadian Cancer Society and CIBC are bucking the downward trend of non-profits running peer-to-peer fundraising events like the Run for The Cure, which has remained relatively stable in terms of revenue and participation. Greenlaw adds that the contingent of millennial participants has grown over the years, which is promising for the future success of the Run.

The Canadian Cancer Society has put a major emphasis on social and digital again this year – there are 57 run sites across the country, so digital makes it easier to monitor engagement across regions – but Mollica adds that radio and TV are significant and, like other charities, it benefits from pro-bono air time and media space across the country.

Greenlaw says last year’s “I Promise” campaign was well-received, and the goal this year was to “simplify the message.” There were tweaks to this campaign, he says, but it’s the same call to action that consumers will be familiar with.

This is the 23rd year of CIBC’s sponsporship of the Run for the Cure, which is being supported in-branch through signage and by its employees, 15,000 of whom are taking part.

The CIBC Run for the Cure has over 80,000 participants and raises $16 million annually in communities nationwide.

The full campaign includes TV, online video, OOH, print, digital, social and in-branch elements. Juniper Park\TBWA once again led on creative.