The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Sun Life U.S. Team Up Against Diabetes grant program grant recipient videos

Entered in Remote Production


Our goal with the Sun Life U.S. Team Up Against Diabetes grant program is to highlight innovative and impactful community programs that address a variety of health and wellness related topics, including diabetes, nutrition, and obesity prevention. In 2020, our goal was not only to select the most impactful programs but to also ensure that we were supporting programs that were addressing the issue of health disparities and health equity; as we know that diseases like diabetes have a much larger impact on underserved and minority communities. We support these programs by providing grants ranging from $25,000-$100,000 and celebrate their work each year by producing high-quality videos that talk about their program in depth. Typically, Sun Life sends staff from Multimedia Services, Sponsorship & Philanthropy, Communications, and Social Media to visit each of these organizations where we interview 1-2 individuals from the organization and where applicable, interview an individual who the program has helped to demonstrate its impact. We promote these videos on our own social media and also provide them to the winning organizations. For many of our grant recipients, funding a video like this on their own is cost-prohibitive, so they very much value the professional–quality videos that we are able to provide them with. However, due to the pandemic, we were not able to meet with these organizations in person and had to improvise how we would go about creating our six videos; one to announce the 2020 winners and one for each 2020 grant recipient.




Strategy and Execution

In 2020, Sun Life U.S. awarded five Team Up Against Diabetes grants to the following organizations:

But during COVID-19, would we still be able to able to create the same high-quality videos we'd produced in years past to tell these compelling and impactful stories of community support and hope?

We feared that it would be a challenge to gather consistent, high-quality video from each of our five grant recipients without being able to send a crew on-site to each location. We needed to think strategically in terms of how to showcase our grant recipients in a meaningful way as we no longer could produce videos & interviews in person.

We started by reaching out to our in-house Multimedia team for their advice as they are the ones who have produced these videos for us in the past and had already started doing a great deal of remote video work for the company. As a result, they had already produced a great flyer on best practices for do-it-yourself recordings. They were able to give us some additional feedback on the best types of images and b-roll footage that we should ask for from each recipient, as well as how best to transfer these files.

In order to ensure that we were getting consistent, high-quality video across the board, they also suggested that we provide each of our grant winners with a quality high definition web camera for the purposes of our interviews with organizers and participants. So we did and it was theirs to keep!

Additionally, we connected remotely with Sun Life U.S. President Dan Fishbein, M.D. to record his portion for the compilation video which highlights each of the five grant recipients. 

Finally, Sun Life's Sponsorship & Philanthropy and Communications staff worked with our Multimedia Specialists to prepare interview templates and to map out and storyboard each video. All interviews were conducted and recorded over Zoom and each organization sent in b-roll footage, photos, and other materials that would help to showcase the impact of their programs in their local communities. 

These efforts resulted in a total of six (6) videos; one compilation video used in conjunction with the announcement of the winners, and five (5) additional videos, one for each of the grant recipients. This all had to be done in a short time-frame to ensure the videos were for our November announcement, as November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. 





Despite not being able to visit a single site in person, our team was able to:

The videos launched in November to coincide with National Diabetes Awareness Month and therefore haven't been in the market as long as many of Sun Life's other social media campaigns. However, in that short time window, 2 of the individual grant recipient videos gained impressive results in relation to other content published during the past year as shown below. These videos are continuing to be used into 2021 in order to help promote the current Sun Life Team Up Against Diabetes grant application period. 

More importantly, the videos have succeeded in showcasing each of these amazing organizations and has given them each a powerful marketing tool that they can use to promote their programs.

Social Media Highlights from 2020






Video for Sun Life U.S. Team Up Against Diabetes grant program grant recipient videos

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Sun Life U.S.


Entry Credits