Cannes Lions

The talking bookmarks


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Quebec has a functional illiteracy rate of over 50%, a stunning statistic for a province in a country like Canada. It’s been proven that encouraging children’s interest in reading is a great way to overcome this issue.

That’s why the Literacy Foundation created The Gift of Reading program. Its goal is to collect new books to give to the 200,000 underprivileged children in Quebec.

With a budget of less than $50,000, the Foundation wanted to reach out to booklovers in order to collect as many books as possible for its 20th anniversary.


The Foundation created talking bookmarks to collect books for underprivileged children. By displaying these talking bookmarks in various bookstores, the children could request the books they’d like to receive from those who’d be most responsive to their message.

An activation video was then posted on the Foundation’s social media and shared by various media outlets that were moved by the message.


Each bookmark featured the voices and faces of real children in need and was strategically placed in bookstores so the children’s messages could be heard by booklovers.

The bookmarks grabbed their attention by inviting them to buy a book and to leave it in one of our collection boxes. The box then relayed a thank you from the child whose bookmark it was.

The illustrations of the children’s faces added a personal touch to the bookmarks. Upon listening to the child’s voice, it was easier for donors to picture who would be receiving their donation. A simple bookmark blew away the whole province


In less than 3 months, the Foundation reached their collection goal. Online donations increased by 1,048%; they drew 15 million impressions, with 43% in earned media. Thanks to a simple bookmark, the Foundation’s message beamed throughout the province.

But most importantly, donors made over 100,000 children in Quebec want to read.