Cannes Lions

#Oldfluencers

COSSETTE, Montreal / MCE / 2021

Case Film
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Case Film

Overview

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Overview

Background

After several months of the pandemic and repeated communications about health measures, fatigue started to grow. The message was no longer getting through, most importantly with teenagers. The government of Quebec needed to find a new way to reach young people and talk about public health measures. This was a segment of the population that was quickly becoming apathetic to the rules, having been deprived and disconnected on numerous fronts.

The mandate: Develop a campaign to educate young Quebecers about the importance of adopting and maintaining preventive behaviours.

In sum, engage with young people to motivate and encourage them to keep going.

Idea

We created new, unexpected influencers who served two main purposes in regards to our brief: they embody the importance of staying safe and they stand out in a sea of flashy content—senior citizens on TikTok.

Under the pseudonym of Reste pépé (Never Get Old), our three oldfluencers—JR, Gab and Gabrielle (aged 72, 73 and 71)—invited young people to the app to discuss the measures in a lighthearted way, in perfect harmony with the general tone of TikTok. The content included 20 videos, each showcasing a specific public health message—like hand-washing, 2-metre social distancing and mask-wearing—seamlessly blended into the narrative. Our seniors engaged young people on their home turf with a simple yet essential message: keep at it.

After all, when it comes down to it, the best reason for teens to be safe is indisputable and close to home: their grandparents.

Strategy

We targeted Quebecers aged 13 to 24, and unsurprisingly, TikTok was our avenue of choice, particularly since its popularity exploded in the early months of the pandemic.

We observed that 71% of Generation Z were more worried about a loved one being infected by the virus than being infected themselves. Plus, nearly 82% of them used their smartphones more frequently. Our target, already known for their skepticism, also experienced an increased disconnect from institutions during the pandemic, 71% of young people preferring to get their information on COVID-19 from independent media instead of official governmental sources. These three observations guided us in the choice of our spokespersons, media channels, and the editorial angle of our messages.

Finally, TikTok has undeniably become a platform where trends, memes and pop culture elements are born and then disseminated throughout other social media channels.

Execution

The Reste pépé account was created from scratch on TikTok and launched in early December 2020 with its first 12 videos to showcase a variety of content and address the key measures. Videos have been posted regularly ever since.

Each video was its own spin on TikTok’s popular trends: choreography, lip-sync, reaction Duet, transition clips, top lists, etc. Reste pépé had its pulse on temporary measures, like socially distanced holidays or the curfew in Quebec. A video featured TikTok superstar Lubalin as a special guest, fresh off his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Since the content was tailored to TikTok’s ever-changing hot trends and because most public health measures during the pandemic were universal, our messages transcended our local audience and were quickly picked up internationally. This popularity helped solidify its legitimacy and success at home.

Reste pépé is still up and its community grows every day.

Outcome

In less than a week, and with no media investment, the Reste pépé account had garnered 2.7M views, 67K subscribers, 27K shares, 690K likes, and 12K comments. Community managers also tracked overwhelmingly positive comments, shares and interactions (such as TikTok’s Stitch and Duet features) with the content.

In one month, more than 800,000 young Quebecers had been exposed to the campaign and to the creative content (out of 925,863 people in Quebec aged 15 to 24).

It received major media coverage and was reposted by popular creators on Instagram, like Konbini. It made the front page of two popular subreddits with tens of thousands of upvotes, was shared on Twitter where it received more than 5M views, and was retweeted by celebrities, including Viola Davis and Jim Gaffigan.

To date, our videos have more than 35M views, 405K subscribers, 130K shares, 4.1M likes and 80K comments.