Desjardins strikes up some musical relief

The financial co-op builds on its community positioning, hiring struggling musicians to give anxious Canadians a moment of joy.
Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 11.10.29 AM

From Italians singing and playing accordions on their balconies, to Spaniards serenading neighbours on saxophones and keyboards from their porch, music has been a prominent method to boost morale, provide a sense of community and bring joy in an otherwise joyless time.

Building on this, Desjardins – along with creative agency Bleublancrouge Toronto and the Humanise collective – launched its “Send a Solo” initiative on Friday, to not just say something meaningful, but to do something meaningful.

The two-week initiative will employ musical artists – most of whom have been out of work due to COVID-19 – to boost the spirits of people who need it most, from the elderly, to the immuno-compromised to frontline workers, to families with young children.

To kick off the initiative, Desjardins and Bleublancrouge have chosen seven different musicians to perform live solos – captured on film by those living with the person being serenaded, under the remote guidance of director Chris Muir. The films invite Canadians to nominate family members, friends, neighbours or colleagues for one of more than 100 digital solos, created by Desjardins and 40 professional musical artists across the country. These 40 musicians were selected from more than 400 who applied and range in genre from bluegrass to classical.

“What’s really important to us is we really felt that people deserved a bit of relief,” says Björn Bruschke, Desjardins’ VP of marketing and client communications of Ontario, Atlantic and Western Canada. “We’re a cooperative, so it’s in our DNA to give back and be connected to our communities.”

Bruschke says one of the marketing challenges during the pandemic is making consumers feel re-assured, both in terms of their health and the long term financial impacts.

“There’s so much anxiety that we’re facing, day-to-day, as Canadians. We’re not sure what’s around the corner, [or] what’s next. So I think just being there, pivoting and making sure that we’re reassuring our clients whenever we can, is paramount right now,” he says. “Those brands that I believe that will really come out on top of all this will connect with clients and consumers in a meaningful way that is transparent and re-assured.”

Bruschke says this initiative addresses this challenge by showing it’s there to uplift people, emotionally, during this arduous time. Desjardins is giving more than $150,000, cumulatively, to participating artists in the initiative.

In terms of helping consumers financially, Desjardins’ relief measures to support Canadians include community-focused efforts like “The GoodSpark Fund,” which will leverage a $150-million budget for community initiatives that tackle employment, economic vitality, education and the environment in Quebec and Ontario. The $10-million “Momentum Fund” will provide funding equal to 25% of project costs, up to a maximum of $10,000, for local businesses to generate growth and create jobs.

Two to three virtual stories will be released on Desjardins Group’s Facebook account and YouTube channel every day. The initiative will be amplified through custom content featured on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts of individual Bell Media programs and Much Studio influencers.