Steptember is an annual fundraising campaign run by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) in which participants wear a pedometer for 28 days and try to reach 10,000 steps per day. By asking friends and family to sponsor them, they raise money for kids living with Cerebral Palsy.
CPA came to us in 2015 asking for our guidance in breathing a little more energy into the Steptember brand. They had been given the opportunity to run a TVC and some out of home advertising and they wanted to make sure these spots could communicate the spirit of the campaign, and communicate the enjoyment that comes from taking on a challenge for a good cause.
A challenge for everyone
One of the main challenges we faced was communicating the inclusive nature of the campaign clearly. While the campaign is called Steptember, not every participant will clock up their 10,000 with actual steps. Given the connection to cerebral palsy, it was important that people who use wheelchairs or who like to move in other ways need to know that this fundraiser is for them, too!
While we weren’t able to make wholesale changes to the concept, we wanted to ensure that this inclusivity was seen throughout the campaign. One of the key changes we recommended in our early consultation, while small, was significant – changing the descriptor of the campaign from ‘taking 10,000 steps per day’ to the more inclusive ‘moving 10,000 steps a day.’
Working closely with Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we developed a sixty-second TVC (and a thirty-second cut) driven by messaging about the health benefits of meeting the recommended daily activity levels to establish the value of the campaign for the participant. Our comedic approach allowed us to present this health-based message in a more realistic, rather than guilt-inducing, way.
We created characters, and placed them in situations that reflected and then stretched real-world scenarios where moving became a reward in and of itself. Our characters weren’t superhuman athletes, but were everyday people, doing lunges in the lounge-room or weights while on the phone.
This messaging, and the vehicle of comedy, gave everyday Australians relatable reasons to register for the challenge – without needing any existing connection with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Thinking outside the box
The Steptember campaign was able to secure a significant allocation of out of home and digital advertising to accompany the TVC. This meant that the campaign had a good chance of increasing its reach, and of finding multiple touch-points with potential supporters.
We wanted to keep a consistent look and feel throughout this collateral, with a consistent and simple message to busy commuters, or browsers. The out of home advertising that accompanied the TVC included digital and print media. To ensure we delivered an integrated campaign, we leveraged the TVC shoot and created a series of stills, animations and vignettes ranging from eight to sixty seconds on billboards, petrol pumps, banners and print materials in major CBD locations in Sydney and Melbourne.
It’s not always appropriate or easy to talk about disabilities and struggles with humour, but with a very broad and diverse audience watching Australian commercial television and seeing our placements in the city streets, we believed that telling the story of Steptember through the time-honoured Australian tradition of comedy would best relate to our audience, and most effectively promote the work of the CPA.
In the end, the Steptember campaign met its aim of engaging Australians who had not previously involved themselves with CPA, and the results speak for themselves: