Adapt Media created Indigenous community reach without an existing network, achieving its ‘OOH everywhere’ brand promise.
Indigenous communities make up five percent of Canada’s population – that’s more than 1.8 million people – but reaching some of their far-flung locations remains a tall order. When you’re trying to reach First Nations on reserves or in remote areas ignored by established media, options are limited. It has required a patchwork approach. Think local radio, maybe the occasional community paper, some social and online (though digital options are limited because so many of these areas aren’t connected). In these circumstances, it’s little wonder that OOH often becomes the primary tool for communication.
They are concentrating on three efforts: a settlement notification for the Federal Indian Day School Class Action suit (just wrapping now); the First Nations Drinking Water Settlement campaign (just launching); and the Justice for Day Scholars initiative, a far-reaching campaign designed to inform Indigenous peoples of their ability to receive compensation for time suffered in Canadian residential schools.
Given the sensitive nature of the work, it was important that the partners respect the communities. All advertising had to be resented to and authorized by band offices or community leaders, and its intention could only be to inform and serve the Indigenous audience. It needed to be deemed educational and not predatory. To achieve this, Believeco created a list of communities it wanted to connect with from information gleaned from settlement documents, residential school areas and postal codes, and then created a letter of introduction that outlined the reasons behind the effort. Next, Adapt got on the ground, meeting with First Nations leaders and visiting each community – no matter how remote – to gauge the messaging opportunity at locations such as gas stations and convenience stores.
Adapt spent months finding locations where it could put up 4×6 posters. The opportunity to work on such campaigns has left an impression on Thompson.
He says the work with APTN allowed Adapt to launch and become a full-service company, which he won’t soon forget. He is looking to give back with the launch of the iDream Award. The goal is to grant millions of dollars in donated advertising space to allow winners in the arts, entrepreneurism and sports to showcase their creations, products, services, and personal brands.
Media venues include billboards, broadcast, and digital/social. With a dedicated board of directors including Nicole Brown (president, investments, Dentsu Canada), Norman Haughton (director, IFEC product and analytics, Air Canada), Lina Kim (president, The Podcast Exchange), and Alan Sifuentes (senior director, programmatic media, Media Experts) a spring 2024 launch is targeted, with entries opening by this summer.