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1980-86 Promotions

Fast Facts:
Campaign: ParticipACTION national promotions 1980-1986
Dates: Second decade promotions
Description: A wide variety of promotional initiatives demonstrating ParticipACTION’s creativity, reach and corporate sponsorship success.
Funding: Variety of corporate sponsors and some Health Canada funding.


Variety of printed materials (brochures, booklets, etc) nationally distributed.

Almost all of the funding for these resources were provided by corporate sponsors which reflected the growing public awareness and appeal of the ParticipACTION message.
As a policy, ParticipACTION insisted upon complete editorial control of all the content of these resources, regardless of the sponsor.

Often other professionals (such as dietitians, medical personnel, etc) were involved to provide ParticipACTION with factual content. While prominently acknowledging the financial sponsorship of various companies / products, ParticipACTION would not directly endorse any product, nor mention its brand name in any content. The ParticipACTION Board of Directors established specific guidelines regarding this policy. This policy did not prove to be a negative in attracting corporate sponsors who welcomed the indirect association with the high profile ParticipACTION media campaign and the public popularity of the corporation. This policy of non-endorsement of commercial products was also important to ParticipACTION in maintaining its public service advertising support from the mass media.


Build upon the growing awareness created through the mass media campaign with more audience targeted educational resources.

  • Demonstrate to potential corporate sponsors that ParticipACTION could reach target audiences in a highly efficient manner, often involving the endorsement and active support of respected local leaders / influencers.


Samples of the various resources are included here. All were initially available in both official languages. (Some samples are unfortunately no longer available.)

  • “31 ways in 31 days” – Educational booklet produced in cooperation with the Canadian Dietetic Association for the March 1985 National Nutrition Month. Funding was provided by the Dairy Bureau of Canada. Extensive distribution was assisted by local dietitians across Canada. (Cooperative ventures of this nature with other respected professional health associations added to ParticipACTION’s credibility, as well as supporting the objective of reaching targeted audiences.)
  • “Finding the Balance” – An educational brochure about weight control (activity and nutrition) funded by MeadowLight (calorie-reduced butter)
  • “Your Shoelace…And The Meaning Of Life” – A “tongue-in-cheek” little brochure which was adapted in many ways. Sometimes it was used to attract media personnel to a media conference and was accompanied by a single ParticipACTION shoelace. The second shoelace would be distributed to those who attended
  • “Green” – A unique promotional piece distributed to the media to announce (and encourage expose of ) ParticipACTION’s messages featuring “Canada’s outdoors: The greatest natural fitness facility in the world”. It’s distribution was timed to also support the June 1984 national Environment Week. An appealing added touch was the inclusion in this brochure of a package of “Forget Me Not” flower seeds as ParticipACTION sought to “plant” the idea of Canadians using the great outdoors
  • “Your guide to feeling great all winter” – Educational brochure covering all aspects of being active outdoors in the winter. The sponsor was CIBA-GEIGY who also made this brochure available to the public through drug stores
  • “The Traveller’s Guide To Fitness & Well-Being: Walking” – A four page advertising supplement designed for insertion in various magazines (broad exposure). ParticipACTION created the content and design while the sponsor was Fleischmann’s (margarine)
  • “ParticipACTION’s Fascinating Fitness Facts” – A large, highly attractive 1985 poster / calendar designed for use in school classrooms across Canada. It proved to be very popular and with the inclusion of a calendar, tended to stay up in the classroom for the full year. It was distributed to schools with teaching suggestions for teachers on how they could build upon the facts contained on the poster. Funding was provided by Health Canada (Fitness Canada)
  • “ParticipACTION Mind Benders” – These were a series of little quotes and humerous comments about physical activity that were distributed to radio stations along with the release of new radio PSA messages. They were intended for use by radio announcers, while also drawing attention to ParticipACTION’s messages
  • “Fitness: Head On” – This proved to be a highly valuable and popular booklet, equally relevant to this day. It acknowledged that most Canadians had come to agree that fitness made sense. But for about 8 in 10, indications were that they were still having problems getting started, or keeping at it. This resource therefore dealt with the ten most common problems that stand between people and fitness (time, self-consciousness, old habits, etc). Occidential Life Insurance Company of Canada was the sponsor of this booklet, as well as funding a thirty minute film to complement it. The film and booklets were available free to groups from any Occidential Life office as well as promoted / distributed by ParticipACTION. This booklet and the film were created by Sarner Young (Manifest Communications) who called upon the expertise of a number of psychologists and motivation experts
  • “Fitness Over Thirty” and “Fitness And Skiing- These booklets were intended as the first of what was hoped would be a series of booklets available for sale in Safeway grocery stores. Canada Safeway provided the funds for development and printing, and then made the booklets available for sale in its stores throughout Western Canada. Unfortunately sales were modest and the series was not continued
  • Grocery Bags – As part of its support for ParticipACTION, Canada Safeway printed messages on its millions of grocery bags. This was another form of “mass media” exposure subsequently adopted by other non-profit organizations
  • “Kellogg’s Great Shape Fitness Guide” – An educational booklet addressing physical activity and nutrition, prepared for ParticipACTION by lead authors Gordon Stewart and Barbara Davis. In addition to its practical educational information, it also contained a useful “calorie calculator”. This publication was funded by Kellogg’s and prominently promoted on the panels of its Special K cereal. Special K users could order the booklet from Kellogg’s for a modest fee
  • The Measure of Fitness” and “The Measure of Energy” – These popular Leader Resource Kits were developed by ParticipACTION and funded by Metric Canada, the agency established to help introduce metric measurements to Canadians. The highly informative information for both fitness leaders and their program participants obviously made use of metric measurements. To help “teach people the basic facts about fitness”, the Kits included teaching ideas for leaders and a series of handout sheets for duplication and distribution to each program participant. It also included a poster. Both publications were initiated by Dr. Bryce Taylor, former Dean of Physical Education at York University and long time supporter of ParticipACTION, who was then Chairman of the Personal Health Care Sector Committee of Metric Canada. Content was supplied by fitness leaders such as Donald Newton (CAHPERD representative), Peter Elson (Fitness Consultant), Joyce Gordon (Fitness Ontario) and Marty Snelling (Toronto YMCA)

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The Early Years (1973-1979) | Don't Just Think About it - Do It (1983-1984) | Body Break (1989-1991)
Vitality (1991-1995) | Sharing A Healthier Future (1996-1998)
ParticipACTION Saskatoon | CrownLife ParticipACTION Challenge
Healthy Active Living (Older Adults) | Fitness: The Facts (Workplace) | Project APEX (Children)
Promotions (1972-79) | Promotions (1980-86)
Public Surveys | International Involvement | Canadian Public Health Association Supplement
Historic Timeline | People | Sponsors