Zulu Alpha Kilo won the ‘Best Digital Media Strategy’ and ‘Grand Prix’ categories at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 2021 for its Royal Canadian Legion work. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveal the secrets of this successful project…
The Royal Canadian Legion has sold Remembrance Day poppies every November for decades as its primary fundraising effort. But awareness and relevance of the poppy program has waned over the last several years, especially among younger generations.
In 2020, Covid-19 further complicated things: the retired veterans who typically canvass streets and shopping malls were at high risk of contracting the deadly virus. With no volunteers and nowhere to collect donations, the Legion couldn’t carry out its annual fundraising initiative.
HomeEquity Bank wanted to help. It’s Canada’s only financial services company exclusively serving seniors and frequently advocates on issues that matter to them. Those activities build positive brand associations for the bank. In the past few years, the bank has partnered with the Legion on Remembrance Day, with a shared goal of ensuring the sacrifices of our veterans continue to be recognized by younger generations.
Our challenge: find a new way for HomeEquity Bank to help the Legion engage a younger audience, raise funds for veterans and help stop the lessons of war from fading into history.
We identified that many young Canadians’ primary exposure to war comes through entertainment, often through online gaming. Popular war simulation games like Call of Duty shape perception of conflict among youth today much more than activity on actual front lines.
Our audience was engaged in the subject matter but had little understanding of the real-world experiences and sacrifices of veterans. No game could ever create a true understanding of war. We believed exposing gamers to the actual stories and experiences of veterans could change that.
Our strategy: increase the awareness and relevance of Remembrance Day by having those who play games of war come face to face with those who lived it.
Instead of lecturing young people on the importance of remembering the sacrifices of veterans, we connected with our audience in their world and on their terms. In a first-of-its-kind effort, four WWII veterans (all well over 90 years of age) were recruited to form Team Legion, the World’s Oldest Esports team. Their team logo was inspired by the moment of silence practiced each year on the date 11/11 at precisely 11:11 a.m.
More than 70 years after they left the battlefields of Europe, on November 11, 2020, Team Legion was deployed into the world of online gaming. Each veteran received a rental laptop installed with video-conferencing software and a Call of Duty game based on World War II. Video game influencers joined the veterans on virtual…
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