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16 & Under

16 & Under | Heart & Stroke Foundation | john st.
Download Download JPG | 2048x1452px
Industry: Public interest & Non-profit
Style: Minimalism
In Canada, unlike many countries in the world, companies are allowed to advertise their products to children. The vast majority of these products are unhealthy foods and beverages that are high in sugar, fat and salt. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is one of Canada's largest volunteer organizations dedicated to improving the health of Canadians. In 2017, one of their objectives was to get the Canadian government to pass a law that would prohibit advertising to children under the age of 16. To do that, they needed to show that Canadian citizens supported the bill that would prohibit ads to kids.
We wanted to target parents of young kids, the people who would be most concerned about the health of their children and their health in the future. We wanted to make them shocked at the tactics that companies and advertisers use to appeal to kids. So it was essential that they think the agency was real at first, but upon investigation, realize that while the agency was fake, the effects of unhealthy products were very very real. At 16&, we then gave people the opportunity to contact their Parliamentary representative and demand support for the bill. We used a very targeted Facebook and Instagram buy that targeted young parents and gave them the names and email address of their Member of Parliament and how to contact them through email.
This campaign was an orchestrated use of digital, social, PR, email and traditional channels to create a change in legislation that would prevent advertising harmful food and beverages to children in Canada.
This campaign had only one result that mattered. It wasn't to change behaviour, or change consumer preference. It was to change the law. And it did. While the campaign was viewed over a million times on Facebook and Twitter, the most important thing was that over 80% of Canadian MP's were contacted by Canadian citizens asking that their Member of Parliament support Bill S-228. The Bill was passed by the Canadian Senate in September 2017 and then voted on in the house in February of 2018. It was passed with multi party support from the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green Party. Which means that hopefully that the 30% of Canadian children who are considered obese will be a lot less in future generations.
The campiagn launched with a website, promotional film, OOH, and social posts all promoting this (fake) new agency called 16&Under. We used the Heart and Stroke's email database and targeted social to get the word out before the House went away for summer recess and put the issue on the federal agenda for the Fall. The first hurdle was the Senate who in October 2017 agreed that the Bill should be taken to the House of Parliament.
To make people aware of the bill, we made people aware of just how manipulative advertising to kids is: by creating the world's first agency that advertised only to kids, and showing viewers exactly how these messages are created. From manipulative health claims to packaging, music and messaging.
In this case, there were no healthcare or government restrictions.

Almost a 1/3 of Canadian children are considered obese. Children who are obese very often become adults who are obese which has enormous implications on their life expectancy and our health care system.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018
Shortlist Health & Wellness
Fundraising & Advocacy
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