Grey Canada won’t allow poverty to hide during the holiday season, signs the new Salvation Army campaign

Ads, Advertising

The Salvation Army and Grey Canada have launched a new holiday campaign to drive donations and bring awareness to the issue of hidden poverty just ahead of the holiday season. “Poverty Isn’t Always Easy to See. Especially During the Holidays” is an initiative aimed at showing that poverty exists not just on the streets, but also inside the homes of their fellow Canadians. The campaign highlights that even during this idyllic time of year, one in every ten Canadian families still live in poverty.


The centerpiece of the multi-channel campaign uses Facebook’s new 360-image feature to show seemingly happy families posing for their holiday photos. It’s not until the user explores the rest of the image, via the 360 functionality, that the true plight of these families is revealed. Television and print work also leans into the duality of the season, demonstrating how easily poverty can hide amidst the joy of the holidays, and reminding us that in an age where people curate their lives on social media, that it’s not always easy to see who needs help.


With this campaign we’ve been striving to get the Canadian public to think differently about poverty in this country, and it’s especially important to understand how hard the demands of the holidays are when you can’t make simple ends meet. We want people to consider that those living in poverty go to great lengths to mask it (…) And in a country this advanced and this wealthy, we need to shine a light on the issue since it’s much closer than anyone believes it to be.

Darlene Remlinger,

President Grey Toronto


The campaign also features radio and digital ads that parallel the stresses many of us complain about during the Christmas season—trivial things like crowded malls or finding the perfect gift—against the real holiday stresses that families in poverty struggle with at this time of year.

Thanks to our generous donors, The Salvation Army assisted over 1.9 million Canadians with food, shelter and other practical assistance last year (…) We’re passionately committed to eradicating poverty and caring for people who are struggling. This initiative will help educate the public about what it means to live in poverty – and what they can do to help.

John McAlister,

National Director of Marketing and Communications


All media planning and placement was handled by MediaCom. The campaign will run through to the end of December.


  • Agency: GREY Canada
  • Executive Creative Directors: Joel Arbez, James Ansley
  • Art Directors: Oliver Brooks, Ryan McNeill, Janet Wen
  • Writers: Mike Richardson, Shirley Yushkov
  • Account Director: Siobhan Doyle
  • Account Executive: Kit Kostandoff
  • Strategic Planner: Jean Claude Kikongi
  • Producers: Vanessa Birze, Deena Archibald, Sam Benson
  • Digital Producer: Dominic Barlow
  • Director of Technology and UX: Marc Cattapan
  • Production Company: Westside Studios
  • Director/Photographer: Frank Hoedl
  • Editorial: Christina Humphries, Rooster Post
  • Post Production: Fort York
  • Colour: The Vanity
  • Audio: Boombox, Cylinder Sound

Grey Canada is part of the advertising network of Grey Group, which ranks among the largest global communications companies. Its parent company is WPP. Under the banner of “Famously Effective Since 1917,” the agency serves a roster of the world’s best-known brands including P&G, Brown-Forman, Post Foods, GSK, and Volvo as well as leading not-for-profits Salvation Army and Ovarian Cancer Canada. GREY is Canada’s most awarded agency for “famously effective” work including the CASSIES, EFFIES, and D&AD Impact Awards.

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and everyday in 400 communities across Canada and more than 120 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, providing shelter for people experiencing homelessness and rehabilitation for those who have lost control of their lives to an addiction. print_sa-family