CIBC Run for the Cure steps up against pandemic fatigue

The campaign for this year's virtual event asks participants to draw on the strength of those they are running to help.

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and title sponsor CIBC are aiming to inspire runners who are feeling fatigued by the pandemic with their campaign for the 2021 Run for the Cure.

Called “Never Stop Running,” the campaign was developed with Toronto-based creative agency Juniper Park\TBWA. In a 30-second spot, the organization showcases the stories of those who have been battling breast cancer amid the global pandemic, holding their resilience up as a source of strength and inspiration for the people who participate in the annual event that raises money for breast cancer research.

“This community of dedicated volunteers and participants is passionate about the cause and we know physical distancing won’t stop them from supporting those affected by breast cancer,” says Roy Levine, EVP of marketing and communications at the Canadian Cancer Society. “‘Never Stop Running’ is a perfect expression of their commitment and dedication.”

Last year, the CCS was challenged with finding a way to maintain the sense of connection participants felt to the event as it shifted to the virtual format. This year, the difficulty lay in encouraging people who are feeling tapped out after 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and other virtual events by reminding them why they participate in the Run: to help those who are affected by the disease, a group that may even include some of their own family members and personal friends.

“There are so many inspiring human stories related to this cause,” adds Graham Lang, CCO at Juniper Park\TBWA. “It was important we captured the themes of perseverance and resilience in a way that was grounded in reality.”

As with last year, participants will run in a hybrid virtual and physical format to accommodate pandemic distancing protocols. The opening ceremony for the run will be live-streamed, and the team has refreshed both the app and customizable avatars first introduced for last year’s event. Fundraisers who run or walk in their own neighbourhoods will also receive special celebration kits.

The campaign will run across TV, OLV, radio and digital with social elements and influencer support. It will remain in market until the day of the run, Oct. 3, in order to drive participation in the event.