WSIB recreates moments worth remembering

This year's Day of Mourning campaign turns its attention to the workplace to directly emphasize the importance of safety.
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With hundreds of workplace fatalities in the past couple of years alone and roughly 254,000 registered claims for worker injuries, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is using this year’s Day of Mourning campaign to create real moments and stories that show the emotional impact of what it’s like to lose someone on the job.

“You almost want to have the same sort of success as Remembrance Day,” says Ryan McNeill, associate creative director at Grey Canada, which is working with WSIB for the third year on its Day of Mourning campaign. “Remembrance Day is a time where we all take a moment and think about those who have fought and died for our freedoms. WSIB wants people to take a moment and think about all of those people that have died, or have had serious injuries in the workplace.”

The National Day of Mourning has taken place on April 28 since 1984 to remember those who have died, been injured or have suffered illness in the workplace.

McNeill says, in years past, the Day of Mourning campaigns have really been focused on “the commute home” and how Canadians hurt at work never make that trip home at the end of the day. This year, he says, they really wanted to focus on the workplace itself, and the incidences and tragedies that occur there.

“It’s using those real stories and using those real moments that really grounds this campaign in reality…this actually happened,” McNeill says. “This happens more than people think. It’s something to take seriously, and it’s something to remember so that we all remain safe and be safe at work.”

One of the spots in this year’s Day of Mourning campaign shows a white wreath in various workplaces where injuries happen: a lift on a construction site, a forklift in a factory, a set of metal stairs on a job site, and a road. The spot’s voice-over is a woman recalling memories of her late father, her “mentor,” and how losing him “just felt like complete despair and anger that his life was taken away,” she says. “I would give everything that I have just for one more hug.”

“It’s something you can’t duplicate,” McNeill says. “And it’s those powerful and emotional stories that really help convey the seriousness and the emotion of the day and the message that we’re trying to communicate.”

A long time symbol for the WSIB and the Day of Mourning, the white wreath serves as a symbol of loss and memorializes injuries and deaths where they happened. The stories in the spots came from people who volunteer for Threads of Life, an organization that helps families of people impacted by work-related injuries and illness.

“We really wanted to focus in and have a key visual that unifies the entire creative campaign,” McNeill tells strategy. “It’s something that we all understand, [and] quickly understand what it means and signifies.”

This year’s campaign consists of television, radio, social content, digital display and online video.