2021 Winner

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)

Indigo Lab Coat

Arrivals + Departures

BronzeROI Strategy

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is the only national certification body and professional association for medical laboratory professionals. Going into 2020 the organization faced two significant challenges:

1. Membership was in decline. Between 2012-2019 the CSMLS saw an 11% membership decline. In 2019, the CSMLS found that the decline was accelerating; a further 10% drop was anticipated in 2020 alone. With annual member dues representing 60% of the organization's operating budget, this decline represented a significant threat.
2. Members desired for external validation. Research showed that the decline was driven primarily by negative member perception; members believed the CSMLS was failing to drive public recognition for their work. They wanted public validation in the same vein as their patient facing colleagues.

With only a small marketing budget, the CSMLS had the incredible challenge of member retention without changing its core service offering. The insight “professional respect comes from understanding a job’s inner workings, despite only needing the end result” was borne from the tension between the audience’s natural penchant for curiosity and the unique cultural circumstances of COVID.

The agency arrived at this insight by leveraging CSMLS member data to qualify the Canadian Public and build an interest based group with clear behaviours and beliefs. These people demonstrated a self-motivated behaviour to “figure things out on their own,” and were driven by the belief that things are more valuable when you understand how they work. They often went deep into niche subjects, curious about the interconnected pieces (i.e. the gears in a watch), rather than end function (i.e. telling time).

While pre-pandemic their audience’s curiosity drove them to a variety of topics, COVID took this behaviour and focused it on healthcare. The idea was to champion the contributions of medical laboratory professionals by bringing their hidden work into plain sight.

The agency arrived at their idea by applying their insight to the fact that medical laboratory testing underpins almost every interaction people have with the healthcare system. And often without recognizing it, the average Canadian receives 14-20 lab tests every year.

Bringing this to life simply required a way to capture their audience's natural curiosity by letting laboratory professionals’ work live in public. The campaign centered on reframing the professions’ most visible symbol - the laboratory coat. Leveraging the insight, they created twenty five coats with the names of the 1.2 million different medical lab tests performed daily in microscopic indigo ink. To the naked eye viewers only saw an indigo coat, but a closer look revealed so much more.

With a budget of only $51,475, they created a mix of above and below-the-line advertisements to ensure they achieved scale while amplifying through culture via earned media. They captured people's attention on social media through images of their coat, and drove the audience to a microsite to watch their campaign video and learn about the contributions of medical laboratory professionals. These were complemented with a 1-month OOH buy that was strategically placed on “hospital rows” across the country. This not only helped the campaign feel more tangible, but also got them directly in front of CSMLS members going to work. PR amplified the conversation by sending press kits that included one of the lab coats to figures guiding the national conversation around COVID-19.

They rounded the campaign out through CSMLS’ owned channels - social media and email. This ensured visibility with members across the country, encouraged them to share, and kept them aware of press coverage. The campaign resulted in massive success, not only drastically improving member perception of the CSMLS, but proving their strategic hypothesis that a perception shift would lead to member retention.

Pre-campaign, only 18% of members saw the CSMLS performing well at making the public aware of the contributions of laboratory professionals. Post-campaign that number rose to 83% (+65% increase).

Pre-campaign the CSMLS was also anticipating a -10% drop in member retention. Post-campaign they achieved a +6% rise in member retention (ostensibly providing a massive +16% lift to expected member retention).

In addition, it’s important to note that with annual member dues making up 60% of the CSMLS’ yearly operating budget, flattening the member decline was essential to the organization’s continued operation. When translated to a dollar value, the +6% member retention driven by this campaign is equal to an additional $133,191.81 added to the organization's bottom line. In comparison to the small overall spend, this campaign drove a $2.59 total return on ad spend.

Jeff MacEachern - Chief Creative Officer
Andrew Rizzi - Copywriter
Daniela Angelucci - Art Director
Henry Goodman - Senior Planner
Richelle Colbear - VP, Healthcare
Laura Cavalcanti - Account Manager
Claire McRae - Director of Production
Mike Bevacqua - Partner, President
Daniel Tolensky - Partner, CFO & COO

Allison Garber - Public Relations

Laurissa Stebeleski - President
Danny O’Brien - Senior Media Strategist

Matt Manhire - Photographer
Ben Grossman - Coordinator
Marni Luftspring-Belavin - Line Producer
Robert Lyte - DOP

Jacqueline Pietrangelo - Editor

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