SOURCE: Mercy Ships

December 04, 2017 11:03 ET

Mercy Ships Canada and Partners Give Canadian Boat Lovers the Chance to Buy a Boat and Help Save a Life

The campaign puts Mercy Ships, the world's largest volunteer-run hospital ship, centre stage at the Toronto International Boat Show January 12 - 21, 2018; Celebrity, philanthropist, and avid boater Joan Kelley Walker donates her support on Preview Day

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - December 04, 2017) - On Friday, January 12, 2018, a team of marketing communications agencies led by Geometry Global will launch an awareness and fundraising campaign for Mercy Ships, a volunteer-run hospital ship that provides free life-saving surgical care to the world's most impoverished communities. The new pro bono campaign, organized in collaboration with the Toronto International Boat Show, is designed to inspire Canadian boat enthusiasts to donate to Mercy Ships by tapping into their love of boats while empowering them to make a difference.

"When people hear about Mercy Ships for the first time, they're amazed and usually happy to donate to our incredible cause," says Tim Maloney, National Director, Mercy Ships Canada. "The problem is that most Canadians haven't yet heard of us." Maloney turned to Geometry Global Toronto to raise awareness and drive donations.

Geometry Global Toronto EVP, Executive Creative Director Nuala Byles and her team got right to work thinking about how to bring the extraordinary cause to Canadians. "We came across research that showed boating is a favourite pastime of millions of Canadians, with 43% of the population participating in the estimated $10 billion recreational boating industry. This research inspired our ideas. If anyone could appreciate this amazing floating hospital, it would be passionate boat lovers. So, we decided to partner with the Toronto International Boat Show to share the Mercy Ships story in an unconventional way."1

More than 89,000 charities vying for donations within Canada
Mercy Ships is a one-of-a-kind organization, operating hospital ships that deliver free surgical care to impoverished children and their families. In Africa, where nearly 50% of people have no access to a hospital or doctor, that's a life-saving mission. There's no doubt it's an inspiring ship with an inspiring story, but with over 89,000 charities in Canada vying for people's donations, it's hard to stand out. So the campaign focused on what makes Mercy Ships truly unique: the fact that it's a hospital on a boat -- or rather, a ship.

"I just bought a boat," an interactive experience and fundraising exhibit
The "I Just Bought a Boat" exhibit will be at the Toronto International Boat Show, North America's largest indoor boat show, from January 12 to 21, 2018, at the Enercare Centre in Toronto's Exhibition Place. Nearly 80,000 boat show enthusiasts flock to the boat show every year in search of the latest boat innovations and technology. This year, they're getting an extra big dose. The campaign teases the Mercy Ships story by showcasing the latest innovation in boats, an extraordinary boat with unparalleled features: she's 498 feet long, weighs 16,572 tons, sleeps 474 people, boasts an internet café and even a swimming pool, comes with on-call medics and 5 state-of-the art operating rooms, and is available for just $20 or best offer. Once attendees arrive at the exhibit, they'll discover that the boat is Mercy Ships and learn all about the floating hospital and its volunteers. They'll also have the chance to buy the incredible boat -- and help transform a life in the process. Through an interactive digital photo booth, boat lovers can custom-name their new vessel, instantly see the name appear on the stern, proudly pose for a picture on the boat, and then share on social media and boast what every Boat Show attendee wants to be able to say: "I just bought a boat." The shareable pictures will include a link to a microsite (which will be live January 1, 2018), BuyaBoatToday.com, where we'll reveal, for the benefit of those not present at the Boat Show, that it's not a boat, but rather a ship -- and it's not just any ship, but rather Mercy Ships. Through our microsite, people from across Canada can also buy and name their own boats and brag to their social networks that they, too, "Just bought a boat."

Celebrity, philanthropist, and avid boater Joan Kelley Walker donates her support
The campaign will benefit from the support of the boat-loving celebrity philanthropist Joan Kelley Walker, made famous for her role on The Real Housewives of Toronto in addition to a multitude of other fundraising and philanthropic endeavours.

Walker graciously agreed to act as an ambassador for Mercy Ships, stating, "As I continue to devote my life to community and participate in various initiatives in helping others here at home and around the world, I am humbled to be able to support and add my voice to an important cause and organization like Mercy Ships. Their remarkable commitment and call to action have been able to rally thousands of professional volunteers from around the world for a common cause that is so important to improve the lives of individuals and their families in providing humanitarian aid and healthcare."

Along with Mercy Ships volunteers, Walker will be present at the Mercy Ships booth (A1 located at the south entrance to The Lake in the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place) on Friday, January 12, 2018, when the Toronto International Boat Show holds its VIP Preview Day from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Walker will also promote the campaign and organization by tweeting and posting on her various social media channels, where she enjoys a substantial following.

WPP Partner Integrated Campaign
To amplify this pro bono campaign, Geometry Global Toronto and WPP partners Ogilvy, Neo@Ogilvy, and Cohn & Wolfe created a media plan, social campaign, and PR campaign to drive traffic to the Boat Show and the microsite to create further awareness and drive donations for Mercy Ships. Non-WPP creative technology agency wonderMakr also donated their time to build the digital and physical experience.

About Mercy Ships
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, with more than 2.35 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to become the face of love in action, bringing hope and healing to the poor. For more information, go to mercyships.ca

About the Toronto International Boat Show
The Toronto International Boat Show is owned and produced by Canadian Boat Shows. In generating more than $354 million in economic impact to the region, it is the largest indoor boat show in North America, with more than 1,200 boats on display. The Show has annually attracted more than 550 exhibitors and in 2017 welcomed more than 77,000 attendees. More boats are purchased at the Toronto International Boat Show than at any other place or event in Canada. About 43% of Canadians (12.4 million people) participate in boating and 20% (6 million) own a boat. Direct revenues across Canada's core recreational boating industry total close to $5 billion per year and directly employs approximately 45,000 Canadians. (NMMA Canada - The Economic Impact of Recreational Boating In Canada; 2016.)

About Geometry Global
Geometry Global, the world's largest and most international brand activation agency, drives conversion, action and purchase through award-winning programs that change behavior and inspire people to buy well. With teams in 56 markets, Geometry Global has expertise in shopper, digital, experiential, relationship, promotional and trade marketing. Geometry Global is a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY). For more information, please visit geometry.com

1 Source: http://boating.ncf.ca/stats.html

Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/12/1/11G148395/Images/13JULIENNE_NURSES_After_Surgery_HI-24757420876c959f932bcf050b6ff466.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/12/1/11G148395/Images/1Baby_and_Nurse_on_Deck_HI-e234131e43dbaeda8136e20acefe5d70.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/12/1/11G148395/Images/Captain_Mark_Carew_1_HI-998c5690656d92f780e24b3f2fadaccc.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/12/1/11G148395/Images/Nurse_Katelyn_Plug_HI-95591fb83581addf8174911ff420c17c.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/12/1/11G148395/Images/Joan_Kelley_Walker-1d39f7147bce8f9b8f50fb26964df1e0.jpg

Embedded Video Available: https://youtu.be/BajOpJMft8Y

Contact Information

  • Mercy Ships | Media Contact
    Melissa Lee | Counsellor | Cohn & Wolfe
    320 Front Street, Suite 1501, Toronto, ON M5V 3B6
    Phone: 647.259.3266
    melissa.lee@cohnwolfe.ca

    Toronto International Boat Show | Media Contacts
    Tran Nguyen | Director | Holmes PR Inc.
    847 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON
    Work: 416.628.5607 | Cell: 416.220.4285
    tnguyen@holmespr.com

    Mercy Ships | Contacts
    Tim Maloney | National Director | Mercy Ships Canada
    5 - 3318 Oak Street, Victoria, BC V8X 1R1
    Office: 250.381.2160 | Cell: 778.677.7447
    tim.maloney@mercyships.ca

    JoJo Beattie | Media Relations | Mercy Ships Canada
    5 - 3318 Oak Street
    Victoria, BC V8X 1R1
    Office: 250.381.2160 | Cell: 250-418-5528
    JoJo.Beattie@mercyships.ca

    Geometry Global | Contact
    Nuala Byles | EVP, Executive Creative Director | Geometry Global, Canada
    33 Yonge Street, 13th Floor, Toronto ON
    Cell: 416.716.5876
    nuala.byles@geometry.com