2021 Winner

Regent Park School of Music


BBDO Canada

Grand Prix

GoldCause/Public Service

GoldGame Changer

BronzeNiche Strategy

The Regent Park School of Music (RPSM) is a non-profit, after school community music program that gives over 1,000 young people aged 3-18 a quality music education in high-risk neighborhoods in Toronto. RPSM relies on the combination of private donations and government support to keep running, including the Ontario Music Fund (OMF). With the OMF being slashed by 50%, RPSM needed a new way to acquire money in order to keep inspiring kids through music.

In the absence of an annual paid media budget, the first objective was to look beyond traditional fundraising methods to create a new stream of revenue for RPSM. With RPSM’s public profile being relatively low, the second objective was to create a talk-worthy idea and use earned media to help raise awareness of the school and its purpose, while prompting others to give.

Contemporary musicians rely heavily on sampling to create songs, so the idea was to use music royalties from sampling to create a new revenue stream for RPSM. Instead of a traditional fundraising campaign, the idea was to create an album of original music samples performed by the kids from RPSM, and have a portion of the dividends from sales, licensing and royalties get paid back to the school. As royalties are paid out regularly for the life of the song, they would potentially be creating a new, reliable revenue stream for RPSM.

Their target began as music mavens, however the nature of the eventual idea prompted them to broaden their target to musicians themselves; musicians with an equal amount of passion for music culture who could not only become advocates, but donors.

They approached Toronto-born, Grammy winning producer Frank Dukes to compose the 11-track album called “Parkscapes”. He loved the idea of turning a music library into a sustainable fundraising model and agreed to participate. Dukes was a logical choice; not only had he produced for big artists like Drake and The Weeknd, his Kingsway Music Library website was already a popular hub for musicians looking for original samples to use in their music. His reach and reputation could help build a strong earned story, and by making Parkscapes available where producers were already shopping for samples, they had a decent shot at getting used by a legitimate artist.

The album launched from Dukes’ Instagram account, posting videos and audio samples promoting Parkscapes. Artists and Influencers like Shawn Mendes, Metro Boomin and Boi 1-Da loved the idea and shared the posts organically to the tune of over 62 million followers.

When they got the news that they had been sampled, they couldn’t have predicted that it would be by the biggest pop star on earth. Taylor Swift had used the composition “Summer in the South” as the basis of her song “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” on her 2019 album, Lover. Countless news outlets picked up the story, resulting with over 130 pieces of earned media reaching over 3.49 billion viewers. Swift’s album was streamed over 226 million times in its first week alone, eventually becoming the biggest selling album of 2019. Dream Works even licensed “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” for the movie “Abominable”, resulting in more royalties for the school.

But more important than the monetary metrics are the human ones. The school now has a model providing a one-of-a-kind mentorship program, giving students the chance to create future libraries with award winning producers and composers. The earned media coverage generated a spike in registrations, inspiring more kids than ever to change their lives through music. But there’s no metric for giving a kid from a high-risk neighbourhood with limited resources the feeling of being on the #1 selling album in the world. That feeling of hope and accomplishment is immeasurable.

The children benefiting from RPSM are now playing a direct role in sustaining it. They had not only created a new revenue stream for RPSM and raised awareness for the school, they created a sustainable fundraising model that would give back to the community forever through royalties. Inspired by Parkscapes, this model is now being adopted by other music schools across North America.

Agency: BBDO Toronto
Chief Creative Officer: Todd Mackie
Chief Creative Officer: Denise Rossetto
Associate Creative Director/Copywriter: Rana Chatterjee
Associate Creative Director/Art Director: Jeff Cheung
Sr. Designer: Mike Nugent
SVP, Planning: Tom Kenny
SVP, BBDO Brand Reputation, Business Director: Rebecca Flaman
Group Account Director: Tania Montemarano
Account Supervisor: Sagi Mamalider
Director, Data Analytics and Insights: Curtis Rushing
PR: Shannon Stephaniuk, Glossy
Sr. Project Manager: Sarah Ng
VP, Digital Production: Jason Dick
VP, Director SGL Studios: Matt Eves
Sr QA Analyst: Della Lytle
Developer: Douglas Glover
Proofreder: Sheila Gray

Production Company: Flare BBDO Toronto
Executive Producer: David Lembke
Director: Jordan Dashner
Director of Photography: Luke McCutchenson
Audio: Stuart McLean
Post/Editor: Ted Husband

Client: Regent Park School of Music
Jasper Gahunia, Faculty, Regent Park School of Music
Wes Allen, Faculty, Regent Park School of Music
Richard Marsella, Executive Director, Regent Park School of Music
Jane O’ Hare, Executive Director, Regent Park School of Music Foundation

Composer: Frank Dukes

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