Fido keeps the community connected for Pride

A flag that helps people march while staying distanced is part of the telco's pivot to staying "together while apart" this year.
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LGBTQ communities across Canada are just that – communities, with a strong drive to support and keep each other safe, due to the fact that society hasn’t always done it for them.

So the pandemic-triggered Pride cancellations hit them harder than most. But as part of its pivot, longtime sponsor Fido has shifted its activations to help keep that community connected.

As part of its retooled activities, the Rogers-owned telco created – along with creative agency, Taxi – “The Six-Foot Pride Flag,” which can allow people to march down their streets and neighbourhoods while keeping a physically-acceptable distance apart. The flag has the words “Together While Apart” printed on it “to show that while we can’t march together this year, we can still show our Pride,” says Nancy Thomas, VP of brand at Rogers Communications. Eighty of these six-foot flags were delivered to members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and allies across Canada.

Thomas describes Fido’s key message as “connection in diversity makes us all stronger,” which she says was “even more fitting” given the impacts of COVID-19. The more figurative idea of connection was also a pillar in the brand’s “Connect to Accept” campaign, which launched at the beginning of Pride Month in early June. The campaign aimed to emphasize the positives of opening up conversations, getting to know someone new and accepting them for who they are.

As part of the campaign, Fido also hosted a 60-minute program on Instagram Live, which shared meaningful conversations and different perspectives from the LGBTQ2S+ community. The “Connect to Accept” campaign also appeared through paid and organic content on social, as well the brand’s owned channels.

“We believe that there is power in diversity and that conversations can lead us to better understanding one another, which ultimately leads to true inclusion and acceptance,” Thomas says. “As a wireless company, we help people connect to each other and the world around them. Down to its very DNA, Fido is a brand that creates connections.”

Thomas adds that not only has Fido pivoted in the way it’s supporting Pride celebrations this year, but it has also shifted some of its activation dollars. Through the brand’s “Fido with Care” initiative that it launched during COVID-19, Fido started a donation drive for PFLAG Canada so the national charitable organization could continue to offer peer-to-peer support to the country’s LGBTQ2S+ community during the pandemic. Fido donated $150,000 as well as tablets with six months of free data plans, which were distributed to regional branches throughout the country.

In addition to being a sponsor of Toronto Pride since 2016, Fido is a continued sponsor of Montreal Pride and Vancouver Pride, both of which happen in August. This year, the brand has added sponsorship of Pride celebrations in Kelowna in September, around the time when it will be opening a new call centre in the city.

Assets and messages from these campaigns will likely be a part of how Fido activates in these cities, though the exact strategy is still being determined. Thomas says that “an effective strategy for us has always been to engage our team members and the community to take part and show up.” This year, that will have to be done virtually, as festivities in Montreal and Vancouver have also been moved to digital formats. Kelowna Pride is still scheduled to go on as planned, though that may change depending on guidance from local health officials.

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