FCB Toronto Creates Pro Bono Campaign for PFLAG

FCB Toronto created a campaign for PFLAG Canada featuring real people telling their stories.

Why Pro Bono?

Despite Canada's inclusive laws, equality rights and the many communities across Canada that fully embrace LGBTQ diversity, families often still feel isolated and unsure where to turn when they, or someone they love, comes out. Only half of LGBTQ youth feel comfortable talking to their parents, and when they do, 26% are told to leave home. And even more shocking - 30% of the country's suicides are from this community.

FCB Toronto created Stories for the 2011 National Advertising Awards. The campaign, focusing on gay people and their relationships with their families, won top honors. PFLAG Canada (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) wanted to fully develop the campaign and FCB supported this decision. However, PFLAG operates with only one paid employee and no advertising budget, making it very challenging to offer the support that this community was missing for so long.


FCB decided to take on PFLAG as a pro bono client, recognizing that the organizations mission, to help those struggling with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, is relevant to many at FCB and the industry as a whole.

As they worked to develop the campaign, FCB and its PFLAG client realized that authenticity was key. Real people weathering challenges related to coming out, or being part of the LGBTQ community were sourced to be among the 14 inspiring stories that would comprise the campaign.

The national campaign, using QR codes and mobile video is running on television, newspaper, magazine, out-of-home and through online banners. Every execution features one of the 14 individuals, a few words from their story and a QR code allowing users to connect to their full story. Users are then encouraged to share or upload and connect their own stories to family and friends, further showcasing the inspiration and support that PFLAG offers.


Response from vendors was overwhelming. Media donations alone totaled more than $400,000! In the first month of activity more than 18,000 videos were downloaded and over 800 QR codes scanned.

The hope is that ultimately PFLAG organizations in other countries will leverage this campaign or develop their own Stories campaign to continue to give a voice and support to the LGBTQ community.

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