The Grocery Foundation’s Annual Toonies for Tummies Campaign Employs A Comedic Approach with The #ToonieChallenge

Toronto, ON: Working with Breakthrough Communications and Fifth Story, The Grocery Foundation (TGF) was looking to raise awareness and drive in-store donations for their annual Toonies for Tummies program. The program’s goal is to raise money to help feed local school-aged children breakfast through donations of a toonie at retail partner stores in Ontario and Western Canada: Save-On-Foods, Metro, Food Basics, Longo’s, Buy-Low, Nesters Market and independent retailers.

Toonies for Tummies has raised almost $20 million since it launched

Marking its 40th anniversary this year, The Foundation has worked with food retailers and packaged goods, food and beverage partners to raise money for over 250 organizations, including those with a focus on providing nutritious meals to students. To date, the Foundation has raised nearly $90 million, with Toonies for Tummies accounting for about $20 million. With momentum for the campaign continuing to build, this year’s Toonies for Tummies donation target is set at $1.2 million rooted in the hope that Canadians will rally behind the #ToonieChallenge.

“We’ve achieved two things with this year’s campaign creative: tap into the insight that it feels good to give and that people are busy.” Shaun McKenna, executive director, TGF.

Stephen Stanley, creative director at Fifth Story’s, summed up the insight behind this year’s strategy:

“Our main goal with this year’s Toonies for Tummies campaign was two-fold. First, we identified that shoppers often arrive at the cashier in their local grocery store and are asked to donate to a worthy cause without any prior knowledge of what that cause is…We wanted shoppers to know before going to the store that they were donating to Toonies for Tummies. It was important for them to understand how easy it was to do and how necessary it was in their own local community. So, #ToonieChallenge was born.

“With so many charity-based messages in the marketplace, we decided to move away from an impact-based focus this year and engage people with a simple, humour-driven message. Riffing on major successes like the ice bucket challenge, we positioned the #tooniechallenge as the easiest challenge they would ever take. Two Canadian influencers, comedian Sean Cullen and radio/video personality Taylor Kaye were engaged as the faces of the campaign, allowing us to instantly extend our target audience with their online followers.”

The campaign uses social and digital media to drive awareness

The campaign uses video to deliver a memorable message that is shared on the influencer/personality’s social channels, and paid digital and social campaigns, with customized tags for each retailer in the video. The hyper-focused digital and social campaigns are timed around each individual retailer’s in-store activations, and geo-targeted around each individual store’s location selecting consumers by FSA codes.

In addition, a 30-second version of the video was created as a TV spot, with a TV buy and integration with Breakfast Television in Toronto and Vancouver. Additional PR and social media are being leveraged to increase awareness of the program amplified by a record-breaking number of sponsors and the participating retailers who are taking the challenge inside their stores and to their communities.

“We’re excited by this new approach and believe Canadians will equally embrace the simplicity and significance of the #ToonieChallenge,” says Gabby Nobrega, president of Breakthrough Communications.

The Toonie Challenge 60-second video can be viewed here on The Grocery Foundation’s YouTube channel.


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