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Canadian Tire - Play Finds A Way Launch Campaign

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 International Business Awards

Company: Canadian Tire, Toronto, ON, Canada
Company Description: Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited, (TSX:CTC.A) (TSX:CTC) or "CTC," is a family of businesses that includes a retail segment, a financial services division and CT REIT. Our retail business is led by Canadian Tire, which was founded in 1922 and provides Canadians with products for life in Canada across its Living, Playing, Fixing, Automotive and Seasonal categories.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Events & Observances

Nomination Title: Play Finds A Way Launch

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Intro

Since 2005, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities has changed the lives of more than 1.6 million kids from families in financial need by helping them participate in sport and play. Jumpstart assists with the costs of registration, equipment and transportation for eligible families. In 2017, Canadian Tire wanted to give back in a meaningful way and create a legacy of long-term, positive change across Canada.

Canadian Tire Corporation announced funding for Play Finds A Way: an unprecedented $50 million fundraising commitment to Jumpstart to help remove accessibility barriers to sport and play. To launch Play Finds A Way, Canadian Tire held a press conference followed by an inclusive Jumpstart Games on September 19, 2017.

Objectives

The event had two main objectives:

-Generate earned media coverage across national and regional broadcast, print and online media outlets.
-Communicate Jumpstart’s expanded mandate to key stakeholders

Strategy

Canadian Tire planned a launch event to announce its new, expanded commitment to Jumpstart. The event was designed to reflect the core values of the Play Finds A Way movement by providing opportunities for those with disabilities to participate alongside those who are able-bodied. The launch event was held at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, a strategically chosen venue as it is considered one of the most accessible sport facilities in the world.

An impressive roster of athletes, led by 19-time Paralympic medallist Stephanie Dixon as the emcee, included Olympians, Paralympians, NHL Hall of Famers, NBA All Stars and Major League Baseball players to show their support for the movement and add authenticity to the message of inclusivity. The athletes were invited to be present for the formal announcement and participate in the fully accessible Jumpstart Games that followed.

To help reach additional media and include employees from across the Canadian Tire Family of Companies outside of Toronto, two satellite events were held simultaneously in Montreal and Calgary.

Execution

The Play Finds A Way launch was held on September 19, 2017 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. The event began with a press conference, featuring the announcement, followed by an accessible Jumpstart Games for local kids, giving kids of all abilities the chance to play side-by-side. To ensure the authenticity of the event’s message, accessibility was top of mind during venue set-up and layout. Accessible ramps were constructed, allowing all presenters to access the stage and podium with ease.

National and local media and sport influencers were invited to the Toronto and satellite Calgary and Montreal events. The morning kicked off with the press conference, led by emcee, Paralympian Stephanie Dixon. Speakers included Stephen Wetmore, CEO, Canadian Tire Corporation; Martha Billes, Chairman Emeritus, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities; the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities; Karen O’Neill, CEO, Canadian Paralympic Committee; and Jumpstart Ambassadors Wayne Gretzky and Rick Hansen. More than 25 high profile athletes were in attendance at the Toronto launch to show their support.

Following the announcement, a press release including an official photo was shared on Canada Newswire, providing remote media the opportunity to cover the story and to request interviews with spokespeople. Onsite media had the opportunity to interview spokespeople, including the athletes, and with more than 350 kids participating in the Jumpstart Games, provided great photo and b-roll opportunities. The satellite events in Montreal and Calgary also featured high-profile athlete ambassadors: Olympians Hayley Wickenheiser and Kaillie Humphries in Calgary and Olympian Alexandre Despatie and Paralympian Alex Dupont in Montreal. These events also featured an accessible Jumpstart Games as a part of the launch.

Social integration for the Toronto event featured two Facebook Live broadcasts, an Instagram athlete takeover, Instagram stories and live tweeting from the Jumpstart social media channels. To further amplify the story, three athletes participated in a media tour in Toronto the afternoon of, and morning following the announcement.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2017 (up to 150 words).

-Earned media coverage secured in 64 media outlets across the country
-The launch event generated 35 million earned media impressions
-The launch event generated 22 million social media impressions
-@CTJumpstart, @CanTireCorp, #CTJumpstart and #PlayFindsAWay were trending on Twitter in Canada
-Close to 1,000 Canadian Tire employees attended the events