Centraide shows how its work uplifts (literally)

The organization finds one visual metaphor to represent a wide swath of the non-profits it supports in Montreal.


As Centraide du Grand Montreal prepares to mark its 50th anniversary, the organization is launching a new campaign to show how the work it does impacts the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable.

The campaign, called “Rise Up,” was developed for the Centraide by Rethink and centres on a spot that showcases, via a number of vignettes, the many common examples of social exclusion and poverty in Greater Montreal, such as bullying, homelessness, racial profiling and psychological distress. The vignettes show people living in those situations who are then offered a hand – sometimes literally – by Centraide, which helps lift them out of it.

The creative was based on a concept Centraide had communicated to Rethink during a workshop, says Xavier Blais, creative director for Rethink’s Montreal office.

“Poverty and exclusion isn’t black or white, there are grey areas and it’s a complicated subject. And when we were workshopping with Centraide, they said something about the weight – how heavy it is to live in poverty and all of these other situations, and to be discriminated against for how you look,” he explains. “We thought it was the perfect analogy, so we just brought it forward to show what happens when you allegorically shed that weight so you can rise up and take flight.”

Because the topic is a difficult one and the spot is without dialogue, Rethink had to figure out a way to communicate the organization’s goals and the work it does on a daily basis without falling “into the trap of miserabilism or caricature,” says Maxime Sauté, CD at Rethink.

“The notion of soaring is the perfect allegory to show how Centraide takes concrete action to support the 350 organizations that help vulnerable people in Greater Montreal,” adds Julie Gagné, VP of marketing and communications for the organization. “We wanted to launch a campaign with an uplifting and caring message, but a powerful one as well. Social issues such as those presented in the ad must be at the centre of our concerns and discussions.”

The spot is running in 60-, 30- and 15-second versions on TV and online, supported by static poster and print ads, social content and digital placements.