Desjardins has a spring in its step for community support

The financial services brand shows its support for youth initiatives by tapping a circus arts collective for an acrobatic spot.

Desjardins is not running away to join the circus, but it is enlisting one to draw more attention to its youth programs.

The financial services brand is in year two of promoting programs meant to support entrepreneurship and mentorship opportunities for students, as well as bursaries and other school supports. And it’s materializing the metaphor of “bouncing back” with a trampoline and acrobatics-laden spot as students return to classrooms after an unconventional year.

Desjardins’s “Together For Our Youth” program was devised by Bleublancrouge and is a collaboration with the 7 Fingers circus act, a Montreal artist collective of acrobats and choreographers.

The body movement theme is being amplified by the brand’s sponsorship of Révolution, a hit reality dance show on TVA that celebrates boldness, creativity and movement.

“It’s very important to make people to understand [Desjardins'] engagement with society,” according to Sébastien Rivest, ECD, Bleublancrouge. Besides the $50 million it contributes to these programs annually, it is something Desjardins is able to back up with the fact that it is a co-op, mandated to serve the communities it operates in, instead of shareholders.

Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in North America and the fifth largest in the world, with assets of $389 billion. However, according to Rivest, while it’s a household name in its home base of Quebec, and part of the province’s DNA, its different business model and its co-op mission and values, need to be shared with the rest of the country.

For example, its private Desjardins Foundation awards university scholarships in Quebec. In addition, it awards prizes for cooperative education projects to Quebec and Ontario entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence in business. It also awards funds to non-profit organizations that make contributions to the community as a whole.

To reach people between the ages of 16 and 29, the campaign was rolled out on several platforms: TV, online videos, digital audio and social networks, as well as OOH placements on campuses and in places where they would be noticed by commuter students.

“The best creative work starts from a great strategy,” Rivest says, and this included making the phrase “bounce back,” come to life, hence the acrobatics and tumbling. And Rivest tells strategy the entire, often complex production came together in a month and he praised the financial services’ firm’s willingness to take the artistic risk to bring it to life, and being “all in” on the project.

There will also be a “making of,” video released later this week to show how it created a 60-foot high classroom jerry rigged with with a chalkboard that’s actually a trampoline, desks installed at a 90-degree angle and and a student (pictured) who gets some serious hang time.

The media buy was handled by Glassroom in collaboration with Desjardins’ in-house team.