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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Thirsty for Justice

Entered in Social Good Campaign


Clean water is a basic human right and yet in this well-disposed country, it is not available to all.   Hundreds of first nations communities in Canada do not have access to safe water. To combat this inadequacy, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) launched their "Still Thirsty for Justice" campaign, aimed to drive awareness for this major deficit and demand safe drinking water from Justin Trudeau and the government of Canada.   

Our objective as their agency partner was to drive traffic to their website and maximize awareness about the need for indigenous communities to access safe water and encourage the population to act by imploring the Federal government to fulfill their promises made to Indigenous communities.  

Our research uncovered that our two target groups, Indigenous-identifying people, and socially responsible Canadians, were both fueled by their ability to feel empowered to make change.  

We needed to speak to these powerful groups when they were being hit with news that would piss them off.  We needed frustrated Canadian vocal supporters to hear our message. 

Strategy and Execution

We utilized mainstream media to reach the masses but focused on appropriate content to weed out our vocal supporters. 

With a digital first approach, we used real-time data to connect the people looking at or commenting on content spanning from short term water advisories to the on-going lack of access to clean water in certain indigenous communities. We took riled up people from their own short-term struggle with water and made them aware of the on-going lifetime struggle of those communities. 

We reached our targets through various partners like CBC, DAX, Studio71, YouTube, and Spotify using a variety of mediums such as display, audio, OLV, and CTV. We used native data from each platform to target our frustrated Canadians and provided them with the content that aligned with our overlapping interests.   

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation presented a meaningful opportunity to align with content calling attention to Indigenous news and issues.  Partnering with major national news publishers from Bell Media, Rogers, Post Media and Globe & Mail bolstered an already receptive audience who are inclined to do better and make a real change now. 

We also developed a real time tracker for swells in social discontent and daily news updates at the most granular level for when water advisories would hit a village, town or city. For the duration of the inconvenience, we ensured that we took over this captive content and audiences to amplify the plight these communities face on a regular basis.   

To maximize awareness for the movement we enlisted the Indigenous communities facing these water issues, ensuring they knew they had our support and encouraging them to add to the uproar through digital and audio placements. We focused on audio placements that offered highly relevant social / political content, leveraging standard radio spots to strengthen the indigenous community messaging while establishing a larger reach of listeners, as well as the political decision-making community (ie Ottawa). Their voice added a layer of authenticity to our messaging from a very real place, further building on the importance and severity of the message.  


In a time that no one writes letters anymore, the Still Thirsty for Water campaign generated more than 4,300 letters submitted to petition for government action.  Across Social, Search and Display, the campaign generated 62.6M impressions and almost 258K clicks to site, proving that we reached a lot of Canadians and moved many of them to want to know more about the cause.  That’s over 1 million actions to date taken by Canadians, using their voice to right this wrong.  Beyond campaign metrics, that’s a real-world success. 


Video for Thirsty for Justice

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Media Experts, Public Service Alliance of Canada


Entry Credits