Published On: January 22, 2019By
Last week, Strategy Magazine announced the nominations for the Public Service category of its AToMiC Awards. We were thrilled to see that our Locked Out of Life campaign for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba and Public Interest Law Centre made the shortlist.
As an agency in its infancy (at just over a year old), we are proud to add this nomination to our list of accomplishments. More importantly, the goal of the campaign was to promote awareness for a widely unrecognized issue — the isolation and lack of fundamental services faced by adults with physical disabilities in Manitoba — and we’re happy to see it’s reached its goal.

Locked Out of Life

When the Public Interest Law Centre and Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba approached us, we were facing a number of challenges: How do you increase public awareness of a cause in an impactful and momentous way, when the budget is limited and the outcome will directly impact a group of people’s quality of life?
The campaign was ignited by the human rights complaints filed by Tyson Sylvester and Amy Hampton, two young adults with significant physical disabilities. With Tyson’s express interest, and with the support of our clients, UpHouse and collaborators Wookey Films filmed him making the issue public for the first time. He locked himself in a jail cell in the middle of Winnipeg’s busy Old Market Square.
Visibly provocative, people were encouraged to walk up to the jail cell and listen to a recording of Tyson telling his story. The impact this had on the individuals who engaged with Tyson didn’t stop then, as the event earned media attention, and was recorded and edited into a campaign video, cut to Tyson’s words.
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The video gained plenty of organic traction, reaching over 160,000 people on Facebook, earning over 100,000 views, and – most poignantly – over 1,600 shares from like-minded people wishing to help spread the message of this injustice and align with the cause.
Over 2,400 people have signed a petition demanding better services for adults with physical disabilities in the province, and the province’s health authorities have indicated their preparedness to talk mediation for Tyson and Amy’s cases.
“(The response) was insane,” says Tyson. “At first I was overwhelmed, but then I thought, ‘You know what? I’m making a difference, and that’s all that matters.’ Just to know that people are there cheering me on literally drives me to continue.”

AToMiC Awards

Being nominated for an AToMiC Award is a huge accomplishment for anyone in the industry – not to mention for an agency just after completing its first year. AToMiC work is meant to “challenge the status quo and show the way forward” in the advertising, technology, media innovation, and content categories.
The AToMiC Awards celebrate campaigns across Canada’s media and marketing industries. This year’s panel selected work across the advertising, technology, media and content realms, with a total of 137 shortlist mentions.
Among the campaigns shortlisted in the Public Service category are Uber Canada’s M.A.D.D. collaboration; the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s “Anything But Sorry” campaign; and the United States Against Gun Violence’s “Backfire” campaign, which auto-sent tweets to U.S. President Donald Trump from registrants’ accounts any time gun-related deaths occurred in the country.
Check out our previous blog post on the Locked Out of Life campaign for how we came up with this boundary-pushing concept, find out more about the campaign and what you can do to help at, and see the full list of AToMiC nominees in the Public Service category here.
The winners of the AToMiC Awards will be announced on March 5, 2019 in Toronto. Cross your fingers for us!

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