Life-saving messages catch public eye
By Natalie Sonnen
Special to The B.C. Catholic
This summer LifeCanada launched one of its most successful campaigns to date. The campaign featured three women who braved the odds and chose life for their unborn children. The campaign slogan reads, "You'll never regret loving this much," and the moving testimonies of these young women can be found at AbortioninCanada.ca.
The message has resonated with many. Marlene from St. Catharine's Right to Life wrote saying, "I thought you'd be interested to know that I posted the picture of [your] billboard on our Facebook page and it has generated more interest than anything else we've ever posted."
Linda Gibbons, the courageous woman who has spent nearly 16 years in jail for her pro-life stand, wrote, "I just wanted to tell you how delighted I was with your cover page and the title, 'You'll never regret loving this much.'"
"It's a real winner, and I couldn't be more impressed at the ingenuity that went into it."
The AbortioninCanada website received so many hits in its first few weeks that it crashed; web designers had to scramble to create more bandwidth.
For years LifeCanada has put together national campaigns using innovative graphics complemented by an array of marketing materials. It has also provided comprehensive websites for use by its member groups.
The point of these campaigns is not only to educate the public, but to provide a unified, powerful, and consistent message that empowers the entire educational movement and draws it into a single mass effort.
One of the principles of effective marketing is to have one's message seen many times. The cost of producing an effective multi-media campaign is one thing, but paying for nation-wide advertising is quite another, virtually impossible for any single pro-life group to accomplish effectively.
It seems only natural then, that the country's national education organization be the catalyst for generating these marketing opportunities, providing local pro-life groups with well researched and strategic tools.
LifeCanada released its first nationwide campaign in 2005. The "Why Wasn't I Told?" campaign was used to expose the abortion industry's failure to address the mounting published research linking abortion to an increased risk of breast cancer.
A wide variety of media was designed to drive people to a comprehensive website vetted by researchers and experts studying the link between abortion and breast cancer.
During the campaign over two dozen groups participated, covering the country with billboards that raised the controversial question, "Why wasn't I told?" The campaign was challenged by women's groups, garnering even greater attention, and the web-site AbortionBreastCancer.ca gained some 100,000 hits during the campaign alone.
In 2008 the LifeCanada "Have we gone too far?" campaign's provocative message challenged the fact that we have no law in Canada, making abortion possible throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
Polls consistently showed that 80 per cent of people were unaware that abortion is legal up to birth, so the campaign aimed its message at this large demographic, and again billboards were put up right across the country by local pro-life groups.
Swift and pervasive media attention was due, in part, to the fact that Advertising Standards Canada deemed the ads misleading, so advertising companies either pulled them or refused to put them up.
A media storm brewed for several weeks, but the campaign continued unabated as over 50 local pro-life groups used their ingenuity to display the billboard image via other means.
More than 63,000 postcards were distributed, and the campaign website AbortioninCanada.ca garnered thousands of visitors in the first two months alone. It remains a top hit on Google's search list for "abortion" and "Canada."
In 2011 LifeCanada moved into the role of outreach, providing local groups with the multi-media "AdoptioninCanada" campaign, designed to counter myths about adoption and to present it as a realistic and loving option for women in crisis pregnancies.
Research indicated that less than two per cent of single women facing an unplanned pregnancy choose adoption (38 per cent abort and 60 per cent become single mothers).
LifeCanada's branding team spoke with hundreds of birth and adoptive mothers to develop materials that would resonate with pregnant women. The resulting design won two international branding awards.
Over 33 local pro-life groups participated in the adoption campaign, which is ongoing, focusing on distributing materials physically and electronically to similar organizations such as, in the U.S., the National Council for Adoption, and various crisis pregnancy centres.
LifeCanada will continue to use these campaigns to deliver its life-saving messages. The organization is planning its next national crusade to focus on the imminent threat of euthanasia, which will be making front-line news this fall as Quebec debates Bill 52, which would legalize doctor-assisted killing.
Natalie Sonnen is the executive director of LifeCanada, www.lifecanada.org.