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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

TELUS Social Purpose - Critter Comforts Integrated Communications Campaign

Finalist in Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign


With the goal to increase awareness of its contributions to Canada's wellbeing and drive overall brand love leveraging its well known critters, TELUS enlisted NATIONAL to develop a strategic outside–of-the-box campaign to drive earned media attention. The objective was to elevate awareness of TELUS as a corporate leader in social purpose, generate brand affinity with Canadians and reinforce its commitment to driving wellbeing while raising funds for organizations that support animal and human well-being. 

With the knowledge that animals have been an integral part of TELUS’ iconography and brand identity for 20+ years, coupled with data showing that Canadians struggle with isolation and stress in the dark winter months and research stating that Canadians feel better after consuming animal-centric content, NATIONAL identified a whitespace for TELUS as a champion for wellbeing and driving meaningful social change while leveraging its unique branding proposition, critters. 

NATIONAL and TELUS produced the Critter Comforts Playlist, an always-on stream of TELUS critter videos that incorporated a view-based charitable donation component to serve as a destination for audiences to feel good and do good while streaming beloved critter content. 

The goal of this campaign was to advance TELUS’ social purpose impact through a content-driven strategic execution and effective storytelling, while raising funds for charities that support service animals, wildlife rehabilitation and animal therapy across the country.  Beyond this, the long-term objective of this campaign was to continue to build brand affinity and awareness for TELUS as a leading telecommunications provider and community supporter.

Strategy and Execution

To begin this campaign and gain a deeper understanding of the state of Canadian’s wellbeing, NATIONAL conducted a custom research study that explored the positive impact animals have, both in the home and on screen. We compiled this data into a report and integrated key insights (ie: 80% of Canadians are more likely to feel happiness after watching animal content online) throughout our campaign. 

After gathering these insights, we worked collaboratively with TELUS Studios (the company’s in-house production studio) to develop the Critter Comforts playlist by leveraging TELUS’ existing critter iconography into an always-on stream of critter videos to live on YouTube, Optik TV and TELUS’ owned social channels.  

Similar to the fireplace channel and calming musical playlists, this video was designed to boost people’s well-being and bring viewers a combination of comfort and joy featuring TELUS’ iconic critters who Canadians have come to know and love. 

The next piece of the campaign was the integration of a donation incentive to ensure the animals in our communities are also taken care of. Aligned with TELUS’ commitment to driving meaningful social change,  for every view of the Critter Comforts playlist on YouTube and Optik TV, TELUS donated $1, up to $100,000, through the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, to charities that support service animals, wildlife rehabilitation and animal therapy nationwide. 

The playlist was then supported through an integrated marketing campaign, with earned and paid media efforts, influencer programming and TELUS’ owned channels (social, Podcast, Optik TV and its social impact blog) employed to promote Critter Comforts. Our earned media outreach was conducted nationally and integrated other TELUS campaigns centered around animals, such as TELUS Health’s MyPet virtual veterinary care offering. To secure interest with national and local media, interviews were offered with a psychologist specialized in the human-animal bond, and spokespeople from funding-recipient charities, to speak to the research study, impact of the playlist and the resulting donation. To supplement this earned coverage, our team partnered with Daily Hive to publish a national sponsored article sharing news of the playlist and highlighting the key insights from the research study. We also engaged a mix of 33 animal and human influencers who incorporated the playlist into fun and engaging social content showcasing the benefits of watching animal content, while driving their followers to view the playlist, garnering excitement, reach and donations. Finally, TELUS employed its owned channels, including social media, its social impact blog, the TELUS Talks podcast and Optik TV, to share the key messages of this campaign.

This campaign was truly a content-led integrated communications approach, utilizing earned, paid and owned media. As always, communications execution can be delayed or challenged by a variety of factors. Commonly, we are faced with an ever-shrinking media landscape. Working alongside charity partners as 3rd-party voices for media interviews, requires utmost care and media training to ensure TELUS’ key campaign messages are effectively communicated. As you’ll see in the description of our results, our team was able to overcome those challenges to reach success.


To evaluate performance, TELUS sets benchmarks based on historical performance with stretch-targets to indicate high-impact campaigns. TELUS scores earned media success on a “quality-score” based on number of hits, message pull-through, spokesperson quotes and brand mentions. The Critter Comforts campaign garnered 128 pieces of earned media coverage that averaged a quality score of 94%, significantly outperforming the average score of 87 from similar campaigns in 2022. The paid Daily Hive article garnered a total of 2,510 reads, outperforming Daily Hive’s benchmark of 2,000 reads TELUS’ 33 influencer partners garnered 5,000,000+ views across campaign content, 94,000+ engagements and an outstanding click-thru rate of 2%

Our final piece of the campaign, donating up to $100,000 through the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation to various animal-centric charities, was also a major success. Thanks to the strength of our tactical results above, the Critter Comforts playlist achieved 750K+ views across YouTube and Optik-TV within two weeks of launch and TELUS was able to distribute the full $100K donation to 9 charities across Canada to support their animal therapy programs, training and placing service dogs with families in need, and rehabilitating wildlife. 

As you can see, this campaign was hugely successful on many levels. Our main objectives of building brand affinity, positioning TELUS as a social purpose leader, and raising funds for charities that support service animals, wildlife rehabilitation and animal therapy across the country, were met in abundance.


Video for TELUS Social Purpose - Critter Comforts Integrated Communications Campaign

Entrant Company / Organization Name

TELUS Communications Inc., NATIONAL Public Relations


Entry Credits