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Calgary River Communities

A campaign to protect Calgary and Southern Alberta following the devastating 2013 Floods

  • Campaign
  • Web
  • Media

The Story

In June 2013, we found ourselves at ground zero of the largest natural disaster in Alberta’s history. Like most of corporate Calgary, Blackcoffee offices were shut down … no power, no wifi, and no connection to the outside world. Work stopped for days as founder Shannon Larkins tended to her flooded home, devastated family and broken community. Within a week, we rallied dusting ourselves off to launch a media offensive to get insurance for destitute neighbours and friends. We continued working with flood victims helping the worst off at Stoney Nation and then turned to offer our services to a grassroots organization that had started to come together.

Affected residents came together as the Calgary River Communities Action Group to advocate for Calgary and affected Calgarians to all levels of government to make sure action is taken to protect the from future disasters; and to help everyone recover.

We quickly signed on to support the efforts. Volunteering to get them online with a website and live in social media.

Calgary River Communities
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  • Campaign
  • Website
  • Media Strategy
  • Social Media
  • Print
  • URL naming
  • Photography
Calgary River Communities
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The Challenge

While citizens rallied to support flood victims through the summer, momentum was difficult to sustain. The devastation was so huge, so widespread, it was hard for people to fully understand the implications. As well, the grassroots volunteers were overwhelmed by the enormity of their advocacy work.

Calgary River Communities
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Our Approach

To sustain momentum, we knew we needed to engage emotion and remind people of the enormity of the disaster. We hunted down local photographers who ignored the danger and warnings and captured the high waters and high emotions during the peak of the floods. With those in hand we launched a website and campaign that called on people to come together. As always, we recognized the need for an intellectual appeal as well, reminding people of the billions of dollars spent on recovery and the social toll. Our message was direct: We can’t afford to let this happen again! Calgary is the economic engine for Canada.


We had incredible short-term success forcing insurance companies to pay up and getting government onside. But with a historic 40-year change in government before mitigation building began, a two-year anniversary campaign was launched. We’ll keep you posted on where to from here.