Google uses its tech to help Ronald McDonald House

Raptors player Pascal Siakam helps the tech company take its positioning into a more charitable direction.


Through its partnership with the Ronald McDonald House, Google is emphasizing its broader helping message.

In the brand’s latest campaign, launching today, Toronto Raptors player Pascal Siakam surprised families at Toronto’s Ronald McDonald House (RMHC), and will continue to do outreach to family members who cannot be there in person by using Google-enabled tech, like phones and the Nest Hub.

The creative is encouraging Canadians donating to RMHC and calls out the “Made to Help” microsite.

Google’s Andrew Rapsey, head of hardware and services marketing in Canada, tells strategy that one of the things the brand has always been dedicated to is showing how it helps people in real-life situations. That has typically been in showing how it works in home environments, like in a gingerbread house pop-up last holiday season or ads featuring other Raptors earlier this year.

This campaign takes “help” into more of a giving direction, while also showing the capabilities of Google tech by helping families stay connected. According to Rapsey, the brand’s relationship with Siakam was a key driver in connecting with RMHC, as the brand was thinking of ways it could extend its helpfulness mission this year.

“We really believe RMHC is an organization devoted to helping Canadians, and we know that this time of year is difficult for the families staying there, and we believe our devices can help families stay connected this holiday season,” Rapsey says. “Helpfulness is weaved into all of our products, whether that’s search, maps, gmail or photos” and Rapsey says hardware like the Google Nest Mini, or Google Pixel, are an extension of the helping ethos.

In the U.S., Google has a 25% share of the smart speaker market, whereas in Canada the brand has category leadership. Rapsey attributes this to launching its speaker prior to Amazon in Canada, but also the brand’s partnership with NBA Canada to create hyper relevant, local content that brings to life its brand positioning.

Rapsey is not concerned the Ronald McDonald House message will be lost when many non-profits and companies are promoting charitable messages during “Giving Tuesday.”

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a busy sales period for the consumer tech industry,” Rapsey says. “Our focus was, where can this [campaign] naturally and authentically show up?” He says he hopes this effort will get Canadians to think about ways they can give back (viewers can also get involved by sharing their helpfulness stories using #MadeToHelp hashtag).

While young families and children are featured in the spot interacting with the Raptor star, Rapsey says the brand prides itself on making products that appeal to everyone.

The campaign is being amplified through a national media relations and influencer program that will extend the local and national strategy. The program is being launched via a multimedia campaign, led by a digital buy with an emphasis on YouTube and targeted social media, in addition to strategic TV and a cinema buys. Mosaic was the creative lead, while Proof handled public relations, Common Good the video production and PHD the media buying.