Behind-the-Scenes: Chartwell’s National Television Campaign

It was a cold, blustery day in February when over 1,500 General Managers, Middle Managers and corporate office employees gathered together for Chartwell’s annual Leadership Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. To our chagrin, we were battered with over 35cm of snow on the first day of the conference, causing poor road conditions and impacting flights—yet, we all made it safely to the Sheraton on the Falls hotel, even those of us travelling from as far away as Victoria, British Columbia, and Saguenay, Quebec.

What many conference-goers didn’t realize was that we had also invited a crew from Alfred Communications—an advertising agency based in Montreal—to join us for our week-long session. Last autumn, we worked in partnership with Alfred to launch Chartwell’s first-ever national campaign based on the lives of our residents, aptly named “Make Us Part of Your Story.” We aired their first-person accounts in television commercials, and also told their stories through print ads and website content. It was a wonderful success, one that conveyed just how unique our residents truly are. This time around, we decided to explore a different perspective for our next storytelling campaign, instead honing in on the voice of our own employees.

With the help of Chartwell’s Marketing and Communications departments, Alfred began pulling aside conference attendees for relaxed, one-on-one conversations. When Peter, Administrator at Chartwell Wenleigh LTC, was first approached about appearing in the campaign, he admits to feeling daunted. “I consider myself a private person and I don’t share things about myself easily, but my wife and kids convinced me to give it a try,” he reveals. “I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous, a bit scared, and figured that would get in the way of being able to speak and think clearly.”

In contrast, Jenn, General Manager at Chartwell Georgian Traditions, was excited at the prospect of joining the campaign, “I felt so honoured to be involved,” she divulges. “My colleagues kept saying, ‘Jen, you have to go for this!’ I had a lot of fun talking to the director about my story. It was a humbling experience and something I’m very proud of.”

Following initial interviews, a small group of employees were chosen to join the director for a second sitting to elaborate on their stories—this time with the cameras rolling. “I was happy to be selected and enjoyed the opportunity to talk about my life and why I like working with seniors,” says Spencer, Sales Consultant at Chartwell Heritage Glen. Between takes, he made everyone laugh when he joked that he often tries to persuade his grandmother to move into his retirement community, teasing, “Who wouldn’t want to see their grandma at work every day?”

When Peter was invited back to speak with the director, he explains he began to feel more at ease, “The crew made me feel comfortable and the director was so friendly, it was like having a conversation with a long-lost friend. He pulled the story right out of me. In all honesty, I’m glad I participated—my kids now think I’m a movie star.”


Manon, Lifestyle and Program Manager, getting her picture taken.

Even after a whirlwind of interviews, hair and make-up and photography sittings, all those involved in the campaign left feeling happier for having been a part of it. The stories shared by more than 20 Chartwell employees from across Canada served as a reminder of what a diverse and dedicated group we are, and further reinforced how we’re all committed to the same goal—to making the lives of our residents better.

Want to learn more about Chartwell’s Make Us Part of Your Story campaign? Click here to watch behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot, or visit our website to uncover more resident or employee stories.