WWF and Loblaw get cozy with sweaters

In February 2011, the World Wildlife Fund (with Loblaw Canada as lead corporate sponsor) introduced National Sweater Day - a day when Canadians were asked to lower the heat and wear tacky sweaters to show their support for energy conservation.

WWF wanted Sweater Day to reach Earth Hour status for its second year, with a simple breakthrough idea that would promote countrywide participation. While most Canadians were genuinely interested in taking part in Sweater Day, many simply forgot about it when the actual day came.

Grandmothers have been trying to get their grandchildren into warm, cuddly sweaters for as long anyone can remember, so who better to spread the second annual "Sweater Day" message and remind people to save energy?

John St. launched the Granny Call Centre, which saw participants sign up to get a personal reminder call from the Granny of their choice. The campaign was basically an old-school telethon mixed with new-school social media, and included an online video introducing people to the call centre and the Grannies. Participants were directed to SweaterDay.ca, where they could learn more about energy conservation, download toolkits for their school or office and, of course, book their Granny call.

Users could choose from a wide selection of grandmas, nanas, omas and bubbies. After they booked the day and time of their call, they could watch humorous sample calls from the Grannies (to let them know what to expect). John St. also dispatched a Granny media tour, with spokes-Grannies appearing on various radio programs and morning shows leading up to and on Sweater Day.

Over 1.6 million Canadians donned sweaters and lowered their heat for the cause - a 55% jump over the previous year's participation.