Ronald McDonald House Charities & WestJet's Father's Day Surprise

While many Canadians know of Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (RMHC), many simply do not know exactly what the organization does or the impact it has on sick children and their families. The goal was to raise awareness and understanding of what role RMHC plays, highlighting the authentic connection they have with families with sick children.

Dads are our first heroes. They keep us safe, teach us to ride a bike, give us our first piggy back rides. Simply put, they're irreplaceable. Every day and especially on Father's Day, many dads at RMHC are unable to be with their families due to challenges like taking time off work. Based on this simple insight, RMHC partnered with WestJet Cares for Kids to give one family the gift of being together.

A video showcased the Grimards, a family based out of Saskatoon. Marc and Angela Grimard's youngest son, Joel, was being treated at a Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton for a congenital heart condition. Marc was forced to remain at home in Saskatoon with their older son, Mathieu, to continue working in order to pay for their medical bills, while wife Angela stayed in Edmonton with Joel.

The video clearly captured WestJet's brand promise: You can be there, because we're here. In this instance, a WestJet employee, Medel, stepped in to take over one father's job so he could travel from Edmonton to Saskatoon to be with his family.

As RMHC's first-ever social media driven campaign, the Father's Day Surprise was brought to life through an integrated communications strategy. On June 3, 2014 the video was distributed online across various social media platforms to generate views and ultimately lead to an increased awareness through traditional media.

Along with the release of the video, WestJet and RMHC made a promise: For every 100,000 views the video received, another family would be reunited up to a total of 500,000.

The video saw 1,032,170 video views in more than 145 countries. Social media coverage saw 2,220 Twitter mentions from 1,532 Twitter users, generating an additional 24,900,000 social media impressions, and media relations generated 142,435,337 media impressions (measured by MRP data) via 232 stories in Canada, the United States and England.

The Grimard family and, most importantly, Joel, have continued their healing journey and Joel received a new heart in January 2015 and gets better every day.