Children’s Aid Foundation shows the ‘impossible choices’ kids face

The non-profit is aiming to raise empathy, as well as awareness for its national fundraising campaign.
Impossible Choices transit shelter wrap

The Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is attempting to raise awareness about the no-win scenarios kids growing up in the child welfare system are often put in to increase support for its advocacy and fundraising efforts.

In “Impossible Choices,” campaign assets convey the decisions children in neglectful or abusive environments are forced to make, using visual metaphors like a paper fortune teller including options like hiding from a parent or living on the street, or a multiple-choice test that provides different places they might call for help. The creative strategy was developed in consultation with youth Children’s Aid works with, based on shared experiences and real-life scenarios.

Serena Trentini, VP of marketing and public engagement for Children’s Aid, says she hopes these images resonate with viewers, who might think of the choices they’ve made (or had made for them) and reflect on the situation of those not fortunate enough to have positive options presented to them.

Trentini says the organization worked with agency Field Trip to build on the 2017 launch of the “Stand Up For Kids” national fundraising campaign, and that “Impossible Choices” is aimed at creating greater awareness for its efforts. Running now through the holidays, people are encouraged to sign a pledge to protect kids or make a donation to the Foundation, which administers a wide range of programs and services in partnership with 74 child-and youth-serving agency partners.

Part of the campaign is to also to create broader awareness not just for the well-known Children’s Aid name, but who it serves.

“Many Torontonians may not be aware that the kids that we serve could be the ones their own children go to school with,” Trentini says.

While Children’s Aid is a national organization, Trentini says it is focusing efforts for this campaign on the Greater Toronto Area, as it is a high population area containing people with the interest and means to take action. Out-of-home is focused on high traffic routes, as well as areas with high household incomes and an interest in child-related social causes.

The need is pressing, as according to the Foundation more than half of homeless youth in Canada have been involved in the child welfare system, with fewer than 50% going on to graduate high school.

The “Impossible Choices” campaign includes a mix of digital, social, radio and out-of-home. Media strategy and execution is being handled by Empathy Inc. Astral is a media partner, and supported OOH transit shelters and wraps in three strategic locations in the city.