You Are Welcome
“Who is the Host First Nation of the 2015 Pan Am Games”? This was a question that all of the 50 randomly selected people in the General Toronto Area could not answer when videographers took to the streets in March 2015.
Canada’s complicated history with First Nations has developed a dichotomy: what is the politically correct way to recognize First Nation’s rightful place and contribution to the richness of this country’s land and resources?
The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN), host First Nation of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Para Pan Games, encountered this complication when they decided to raise awareness around their status as the official host first nation. With the noise of the Pan Am Games and the big business sponsors, they faced the challenge of how to launch their profile in a politically correct but ambitious manner. They wanted to be noticed by the 70,000 aboriginal people living in Toronto, Torontonians, and the estimated 250,000 international games visitors.
Enter the You Are Welcome 2015™ campaign. Conceived by XTM Inc., an integrated campaign agency in Toronto, You Are Welcome was developed to establish MNCFN’s rightful ownership of the traditional lands upon which the games would be played in a noncontroversial, engaging manner.
The approach was a fully integrated campaign that extended to all touch points. A carefully planned out-of-home media-buy told part of the story. A strategic Social Media plan was designed to engage politicians and the target audiences alike in the message of You Are Welcome. XTM, wrote, produced and directed a short video to tell the historical story of MNCFN. Closer to the launch of the Pan Am Games, XTM launched the first of its kind First Nation Food Truck with celebrity First Nation Chef David Wolfman.
By the time the Truck hit the streets of Toronto, anticipation had built and people stood in line to exchange their $5 gift card for a food sample. Twenty-five thousand $5 gift cards were distributed throughout the campaign at Pearson Airport and on the streets of Toronto to drive awareness.
THE CAMPAIGN BEGAN WITH CAREFULLY DEFINED
- Position MNCFN in such a way as to create a catalyst for a broader working relationship with its neighbours.
- Give MNCFN a strong voice for all Aboriginal peoples of Canada.
- Participate in the national and international profiling/awareness benefits of the Pan Am Games opportunity.
- The Toronto Star named the You Are Welcome campaign the Number 2 surprise of the 34 Surprises of the Pan Am Games.
- There were 94 positive stories generated through PR outreach across Canada.
- The XTM short video was seen by 35,000+ people from 18 countries world-wide. The average watch was 32 seconds which was the length of the film.
- Social awareness built and went from zero to close to 6,000 combined followers. Ads and photo ops were retweeted by commuters, the Mayor of Mississauga, and the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne among other dignitaries.
- Political leaders attended the Food Truck, while on vacation to demonstrate their support.
- They posed for photo ops and served food in the truck. MNCFN leaders were able to get facetime with other Canadian leaders, build relationships and ignite an ongoing discourse.
- The new partnerships born out of the You Are Welcome campaign provide new opportunities for other First Nations to utilize the relationships MNCFN have built to have their voices heard.
- The food truck served up 6,000 Torontonians and visitors alike.