A new agency helps Canadian Women’s Foundation get past the niceties of Mother’s Day

The Hard Work Club's first project addresses the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on moms.

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The Canadian Women’s Foundation is forging an empowerment message ahead of Mother’s Day, a campaign collaboration with newly minted agency, Hard Work Club.

“The Mother Rising” is a 90-second spot that calls for justice and equality, rather than niceties, around Mother’s Day. And it’s meant to capture all the nuances of motherhood, warts-and-all, including things like pregnancy scars, but also things that go beyond child-rearing to include managing household chores.

The spot consists consists of a series of shots of mothers, expectant mothers and grandmothers with their children, with a voiceover asking for justice for those who are for putting in the care work, with the tag, “help her rise up.”

The campaign is built around Stats Canada insights that mothers have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic when it comes to everything from job loss to time logged in caregiving roles to mental health challenges.

Andrea Gunraj, VP, public engagement at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, tells strategy its mission is not just to raise awareness of gender justice movement, but also strengthen their voice and power. Part of that is raising money, but also accurately representing 51% of the population and their lived experiences.

“We were trying to make it an ‘everything’ campaign,” Gunraj says, balancing both awareness and calls for donations, but also speaking to the diversity of motherhood in its creative. This meant being purposeful about BIPOC representation both in front of and behind the camera, including enlisting Kimberley Veitch as director.

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Gunraj says motherhood can look like anything, and it’s excited to show that mothering is happening across generations and reflects sexual and gender diversity too.

Child rearing is not just about love, roses and happy feelings, she says. “It’s a rights issue, 100%,” Gunraj says, and it’s important to address women and caregivers, but to engage a broader audience of people who think these groups need to be supported.

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The campaign launch also serves as the debut for Toronto-based agency Hard Work Club, founded by creative director Meghan Kraemer, creative director of design Christian Buer and growth and operations lead Cameron Stark.

Hard Work Club is the result of a longstanding association between Kraemer and Buer, who first studied together at OCAD more than a decade ago. The pair met Stark when they worked together at The Hive in 2015 as leads on its Coca-Cola account.

“The name is a great icebreaker,” Kraemer says, and started as a half-joke, like many a creative idea, and the agency’s founding has been something the three partners have been talking about since last summer.

“For us, craft and design are really integral,” says Kraemer. Hard Work Club is calling itself an idea and design collective, rather than an ad agency, and its genesis is about challenging the ways things have traditionally been done, specifically around being spread too thin at larger shops.

“The Mother Rising” is being supported by donated media including digital pre-roll, and the Instagram feeds of several well-known “momfluencers.” The Canadian Women’s Foundation is also running the video on its own social media channels.