2021 Winner

HomeEquity Bank

World’s Oldest e-Sports Team

Zulu Alpha Kilo

SilverNiche Strategy

SilverSocial/Conversational Strategy

Since WWI, November 11th has been a day to honour veterans. It’s also a day to raise badly needed funds for veterans. For decades, the Royal Canadian Legion has sold Remembrance Day poppy pins as its primary fundraising effort. The awareness and relevance of the poppy program has been waning over the last several years, especially among younger generations. In 2020, the challenge was even greater due to COVID-19 lockdowns: The retired veterans who usually canvass streets, transit stations and shopping malls across the country were amongst the group at highest risk of contracting COVID-19. With no volunteers and nowhere to collect donations, the Royal Canadian Legion had no way to carry out their main fundraising initiative of the year.
HomeEquity Bank, a lender that deals exclusively with seniors, partners with the Royal Canadian Legion on Remembrance Day. Their shared goal is to ensure that rather than being lost to time, the sacrifices of our greatest generation will continue to be recognized and celebrated by younger generations.

No game is real enough to create a true understanding war. Looking for an audience that would have an affinity to this, the agency had identified that for many young Canadians, exposure to war comes through entertainment, often through online gaming. Popular war-simulation games, like Halo and Call of Duty, shape perception of conflict among youth today much more than activity on actual front lines. That predisposed audience was clearly intrigued with the subject matter but had no understanding of the real-world experience and sacrifices of veterans. They believed exposing them to the stories of veterans could change that.

Team Legion – the World’s Oldest e-Sports team – composed of WWII veterans who bring the real-world experience of war into the virtual world of war gaming. Instead of lecturing young people about the importance of remembering the sacrifices of veterans, they connected with their audience in their world and on their terms. Four WWII veterans (all over 90 years of age) were recruited to form the world’s oldest e-Sports team.

The plan focused on channels where they knew they could reach younger gamers. Platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook were used to connect with audiences who typically follow and watch their favourite streamers. Those channels generated excitement for the ‘next great e-Sports’ team, with forums being used to spread the word within gaming communities.
On November 11th, Team Legion was deployed. Each veteran received a rental laptop preinstalled with video conferencing software and a Call of Duty game based on World War II. Working around COVID restrictions, their tech team managed their laptops remotely to assign each veteran a video game avatar so they could stand together, symbolically, based on the war they fought. On November 11th at 11am, they shared moments, both in-game and through Skype. Video game influencers on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Live joined them on virtual battlefields not to play, but to lay down their controllers in respect and to hear their stories and honour their service. The world’s oldest e-Sports team reminded younger generations that war is not a game.

The campaign connected with gamers, teaching them about war through the eyes of our hero veterans and generating 6.9 million earned media impressions, including a very significant 342K views of the November 11th livestreams with the veterans.

Educators now use clips of the experience to help students connect with history. As one teacher wrote from Fred Varley Public School in Ontario: “My students were entranced by this. They were able to discuss the games they play and how they glorify war.” Most importantly, it contributed to a 321% increase in Remembrance Day online donations, resulting in an astounding $831,000 raised in support of veterans through this strategy, during a challenging fundraising year. The average amount per donation also dramatically increased by 58%.

Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Creative Director: Zak Mroueh
Art Director: Vic Bath, Michael Romaniuk
Writer: Dan Cummings, Jackson Kemp
Designer: Zoe Kim, Jeff Watkins, Vic Bath
Account Team: Anjelica Kapetanos, David Tremblay
Planning Team: Tim Hopkins
Client: HomeEquity Bank
Clients: Niary Toodakian, Yvonne Ziomecki, Vivianne Gauci, Erin Wilson
Media Agency: OMD
Media Team: Dwayne Mataseje, Mitchell Cornelisse
PR Agency: Provident Communications
PR Team: Morgan McLellan
Producer: Mitch Cappe
Production House: Zulubot
Editor: Micah Rix-Hayes

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.