Shaw rekindles its ‘Tree Spree’ with a loftier goal

Using personalities gamers trust, the telco has renewed a CSR effort that plants real-world trees in exchange for virtual ones.

Shaw so loved its Earth Month “Tree Spree” campaign last year that it has brought it back – with a more ambitious goal – in 2022.

The telco launched the “Tree Spree” last year under its “Brighter Together” platform, pairing with pro gamers MDee14, TY_digital and Kate, among others, for one-hour Twitch streams to promote the effort. For every virtual tree those streamers planted, Shaw planted one in the real world, while also offering Canadians the opportunity to get in on the fun by sharing a screenshot of a digital tree with the hashtag #ShawTreeSpree, which the telco would match with a real-world tree planting, as well.

The company was named the best internet service provider for Canadian gamers by PCMag in 2021, and it has been making efforts to attract the segment, who prioritize fast and reliable connections for online gaming and streaming.

But “gamers can sometimes be more thoughtful about how they engage with companies,” says Lisa Cooke, Shaw’s VP of advertising, so the company had to find an “authentic” way to connect with them. That’s the place the first “Tree Spree” grew from.

“It really struck a chord with a core segment of our customers,” Cooke says of the 2021 initiative, which led to the planting of nearly 10,000 real-world trees. “They were so keen and excited to help us in our goal. We loved the enthusiasm, so we went for it again.”

This year, however, Shaw has set a more ambitious target, doubling up to 20,000. MDee14, TY_digital and Kate all returned to help Shaw meet that target, which is also working with Marc Cadotte, a professor of forest biodiversity and conservation with University of Toronto, and Danielle St-Aubin, CEO of Tree Canada.

“There’s a natural engagement we’re seeing by teaming up with these pro gamers,” says Cooke. “We love that it’s been happening truly organically, and that we’ve been able to capitalize on that.”

The campaign will run through the remainder of April, which is Earth Month. As with last year’s iteration, the initiative was conceived by Rethink with support on PR from Veritas.