Baycrest guides Canadians to better brain health

A new campaign aims to solve a gap in education by showing that aging is not something to be feared.

Despite near-unanimous calls to improve dementia care, Canadians still don’t know what resources they need to turn to in they want to learn about brain health.

Baycrest, a hospital and research centre focused on elder care, is looking to change that, positioning the aging process as something that should be embraced, rather than feared.

The “Fear No Age” campaign features a common metaphor about being cast adrift brought to life: a man with Alzheimer’s dementia finds his bed surrounded by water, bobbing up and down in a vast ocean, before a lighthouse appears as a beacon of hope.

“Despite aging being an inevitable part of life, Canadians are often unsure about appropriate resources to help them make informed decisions about their brain health and aging, and about being a caregiver to their loved ones,” says Josh Cooper, president and CEO of Baycrest Foundation. Cooper tells strategy that, since Baycrest is a leader in research, it has been looking to get Canadians to think differently about aging.

The campaign is informed by the disconnect between the importance placed on improving dementia care amongst the 45-plus set (94%), and the fact that less than one in five people are confident in their knowledge about preventing dementia (23%).

“We can all relate that growing old can be a scary thing, and there are all sorts of stigmas associated with it: deteriorating, fragility and loneliness,” Cooper says.

Cooper says there’s no time like the present to call out brain health and dementia as, by 2031, there are expected to be one million Canadians living with the condition. Currently, about 80% of Baycrest’s long term care residents are living with dementia.

The campaign includes a push to bring on more monthly donors. Monthly giving is what a lot of organizations are pushing for now, Cooper admits, as it allows for better planning of longer term growth. And according to Cooper, the “Fear No Age” platform is going to have legs as part of Baycrest’s messaging going forward.

The media mix is roughly one-third TV, half digital and social and the rest in print, because for this campaign, Boomers are the primary target, and it’s a group that is still reliant somewhat on print media, though their media habits are evolving.

Similar to all Baycrest initiatives, the campaign will be integrated into the Brain Project event’s strategic direction, messaging and exhibits.

BBDO Canada once again handled creative with Hearts & Science on media, and Hill+Knowlton Strategies on media relations.