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Being there is believing

Client: The Original Santa Claus Parade

Business challenge:

The Original Santa Claus Parade brings joy and wonder to the streets of downtown Toronto while capturing the hearts of millions of Canadians who tune into the national broadcast each year. The Parade operates as a non-profit and is supported by corporate sponsors, private donors and volunteers to bring it to fruition each year. With a modest media buying budget, the Parade’s marketing communications and media relations efforts play a critical role. In 2023, while the reputation of the Parade shone brightly, the client and agency identified emerging challenges the organization needed to face, that required a proactive PR strategy. The rise of the social justice movement globally, changed the collective psyche of Canadians. Values of diversity and inclusion took on new levels of prioritized importance, and corporate Canada reflected this awareness in their decision-making and funding processes. The feel-good nature of the Parade’s cause-related messages appeared less impactful in relation to hard-hitting charitable causes. 


Edery & Lord recognized strategic messaging for the Parade needed to play a critical role to proactively ingratiated its cause into the hearts and minds of both audiences and sponsors with renewed energy and timely relevance. In addition to building awareness for the Parade’s new date, activities, and new route, the agency also focused its messaging on its diverse community partners, profiling floats designed by Indigenous communities, the Chinese Consulate, PRIDE Toronto and Toronto Caribbean Carnival. The message being communicated was that this is a Parade where diverse communities come together to celebrate the spirit of the season, planting the seed that corporate sponsorships deliver great PR value across diverse audiences.


The strategic media relations, influencer and social media program delivered far beyond KPI’s.  In total, 730 media stories were generated, resulting in a record-breaking audience reach of over 833 million media impressions, and garnering an MRP score of 90.4 per cent. Even though CTV and the Toronto Star were official sponsors, this program delivered top tier coverage across competing media companies. Social media and influencer campaigns remarkably generated 7.2 million impressions from 61 influencers producing 359 pieces of content and an engagement rate of 24.95 per cent. More than 700,000 attendees lined up along the Parade route and notably, the Parade’s economic impact generated a whopping $3.9 million lift for area businesses with a traffic increase in the local area of 358 per cent – a highly-valued outcome for sponsors.  


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