The ADCC will livestream an effort to save itself

The organization's 24-hour fundraiser is being promoted with a campaign focused on what it has given creatives over the last 72 years.


Short term revenue squeezes by advertising clients, ad revenue down and campaigns that have been put on pause are just some of the struggles the Canadian marketing and advertising industry will face through the rest of 2020.

As a result of the current economic landscape of the industry, the Advertising and Design Club of Canada (ADCC) – the non-profit organization that looks to encourage excellence in Canadian advertising and design – decided a couple of months ago to cancel this year’s ADCC awards show, after discussions with its agency and production partners.

ADCCsocial_judy“For many creatives in Canada, the ADCCs are your first exposure to the excitement and thrill of the industry,” said Zak Mroueh, founder and chief creative officer at Zulu Alpha Kilo. “It’s an incredible organization that has supported up and coming young talent for decades and now it’s our turn to support them.”

Given the fact that discretionary spending being slashed at many agencies and the complexities of hosting an event in the COVID-19 era, the difficulty of hosting an ADCC awards show was compounded.

The organization’s revenue primarily comes from events, like admissions to its awards show, as well as its recently-established corporate membership program, according to Andrew Simon, president of the ADCC. The corporate membership program is a tiered system giving an agency benefits, such as free entries into next year’s award show and a discount on educational programming and events, as well as agency logo recognition on its website and at next year’s show.

Michelle Ovcaric, the executive director at the ADCC, reached out to Zulu Alpha Kilo to rally the advertising and design community to come together and save the organization.

Zulu came up with the idea of hosting a 24-hour fundraising webathon, with the purpose of inspiring, educating and entertaining the creative community, as well as garnering support to help save the organization.

The live-streamed webathon will run from July 10 to 11 and will consist of various events, such as live “creative battles,” a session on how to start an agency and a spotlight on some of the top creative pieces over the ADCC’s 72-year history. Some of the events – which are subject to change – may end up skewing to the more bizarre side for those who stick it out through the long hours of the night, including stand-up comedy acts, Q&A sessions with creative leaders as they eat breakfast or watching an agency founder catch some sleep at 3:00 a.m.

Zulu also created a design system for the webathon, all around the theme of “24 hours,” from the clock-like rotation of the logo, to a colour scheme resembling sunrise and sunset. The nostalgia-inducing promotional materials include email blasts, notification alerts, static posts and social videos that reference peoples’ first ADCC wins. Videos also include overdubs of classic Canadian commercials, such as Canadian Tire’s “Red Bicycle” and VIM’s “Prisoner.”

The ADCC is looking to raise approximately $50,000 through the webathon, which, based on its calculations, is what it’s going to take for the organization to cover its expenses and put on the programming it wants in the future.

But there are other goals aside from raising funds, Simon notes. “My hope for this is that whether people watched for an hour, or five hours, or 10 hours, or 24 hours, I want them to feel like we have such a great industry, full of so many great people who are giving themselves, and together we are stronger than any individual,’” he says. “The goal for all of us should be, ‘let’s keep thriving.’”