United Way Success by 6

United Way Success by 6

The Project:

Although it had been up and running for four years, Success By 6, the United Way’s initiative for kids aged 0-6, was ready for a full visual makeover, including brochures, billboards, print ads, a website and a report to the community.

Success By 6 is designed to help improve the lives of Kingston’s youngest children. Based on the idea that it takes a village to raise a child, the initiative reminds us that we all have a role to play in giving every child a chance to succeed early in life.

“It’s about taking time to make the moments that matter” said United Way President, Bhavana Varma. “Parents and caregivers should ask themselves about the little things you can do to make a difference in a child’s life – drawing, making snow angels, baking, or catching frogs.”

Above: During the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign pivoted to focus on activities that could be done while social distancing, since the annual Success by 6 Week could not take place as normal. "Stay Safe and Play" and "Stay Safe and Learn" were added to these ads.

The Challenge:

The biggest challenge was settling on a new look and message for the updated Success by 6 campaign. The Success by 6 committee tried to design a look and feel by themselves, but could not come to consensus. “We did a lot of work with focus groups, but no two groups liked the same thing” said Bhavana. “We wanted to settle on a look and feel and then communicate our thoughts to a designer, but no one could agree.”

United Way had worked with BmDodo before, and was impressed by the results, so Bhavana invited partners Brian Dodo and Jennifer Cameron to attend a meeting of Success By 6 volunteers and discuss the update for their ongoing campaign.

The Solution:

The partners realized the campaign needed a unified concept that would apply to all of the project’s components. During the meeting, they noticed that all of the committee’s ideas seemed to feature parents prominently. They suggested flipping that approach on its head and adopting a child-centric perspective instead.

“Since the parents and adults couldn’t agree on what they wanted to see, it made sense to go with what the children would want to see” said Bhavana. “It was a brilliant idea and it re-vitalized the whole campaign.”

Using bright colours, child-like drawings, and a font inspired by a six-year-old’s handwriting, Brian and Jen created a multi-media campaign that explored the world from a child’s point of view. The volunteers also embraced Brian’s suggestion to encourage parents to make little things matter by adopting a ‘Making the Moments Matter’ theme in their written materials.

In addition to a widely distributed brochure and report, the Success By 6 campaign included a series of eight billboards which rotate monthly around the Kingston area. The partners also created a range of print ads which they sent to all Kingston-area newspapers and magazines to use when space permits. These ads continue to run at least twice weekly. Animated electronic ads were created to run on the partner's electronic billboards.

The Result:

Bhavana thinks the updated materials are the United Way’s best ever and that they’ve absolutely contributed to the growth of the Success by 6 program. “When we first started we had a few events. Now we have over 170 events on the go, including a Success by 6 week” she said. “Attendance is record, people are finding the time to do little things with children, and awareness is high. It’s exactly what we wanted.”

Bhavana was also impressed that BmDodo went above and beyond the basics like ensuring messaging and branding were on point. “They did so much more. I particularly enjoyed how they challenged us to think beyond our day-to-day operations and choose a concept that would show the community how valuable their dollars are.”

The Success by 6 campaign was recognized by R.G.D. Ontario for a “Design at Work” award.