Skip to main content
Racing around Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto to raise awareness about cancers below the waist

Racing around Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto to raise awareness about cancers below the waist

This is me examining my 9 to 5 work. It’s not a shill-fest. Nor does it represent the views of my firm or my clients. This is just me talking, got it?

My hope is that this little dissection will help you with your guerrilla marketing initiatives.

My group did a stunt yesterday in Toronto. It was part of a broader public launch for the Underwear Affair. We’ve got four similar events this week in Ottawa (today) and Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver (on Thursday).

The Underwear Affair aims to raise money for cancers below the waist (colo-rectal, ovarian, prostate, cervical, endometrial etc). These diseases are often deemed taboo due to where they occur on the body and so the Affair, with its zany brand persona, is a great way to get people thinking about early detection.

As a PR person/marketer, my fave thing about the UA is its stunt-friendliness.

Let’s take a closer look at things. The guerrilla event in Toronto, which you see pics of in this post, was a resounding success.

Here’s what I was pleased with:

Media presence:

  • Just about every TV network in town showed up: CBC, CTV, Global, CP24, City, and Omni. CBC’s piece may run nationally.
  • In terms of print the umbrella org for the community papers showed up and Metro is running photos. The real kicker though was Canadian Press, who sent both a photog and a reporter. This means we may get into far flung places. Wire services are always a big win if they can be secured.
  • Most importantly, our client did interviews with all TV outlets.
  • There was radio on site (Z103 the event sponsor did cut ins from a street team)
  • More info to come re blogger and trade press outreach

jack 2

The stunt itself:

  • This was a concept we hadn’t done before, but it was totally congruent with the UA brand persona which is fun and light.
  • The logistics team did a great job securing the best place in Canada for a PR stunt (Yonge and Dundas Square)


  • Guerrilla initiatives can generate awesome content. We’ve now got lots of fun stuff to use across many channels. The pics and video will play especially well in our social/digital realms.


  • While it would be silly of me to reveal details re costs, let me say this: this did not cost a hell of a lot. Why? We did not hire talent. We’re a charity. We did not over design the look and feel of it. The cost vs value of coverage ratio will likely be VERY good.


  • A person who interned with us last summer ran this. She killed it LARGE. You should hire interns. A bunch will likely suck but you’ll find capable people just like we did.
  • Get your space early. This is the first time we’ve used Yonge and Dundas and I’m convinced it was a KEY factor in our success.
  • Plan every detail down to the smallest iota. This does not mean over scripting. Just don’t leave stuff to chance.
  • Make sure your concept’s media relevance is easily explainable via an advisory or over the phone. Explaining that you’ve got teams of people “running around, two to a pair, in giant underwear” isn’t hard. It’s also not something one sees each day on the way to Starbucks.

That’s a very prelim analysis for now. I am sure I’ll have more to say as we get a fuller picture and complete the other four guerrilla initiatives over the next four days.

If you want to give back and have fun doing it, visit and sign up for this awesome event!


UPDATE: On Sunday, I found out this stunt had been covered on CNN. Great news for us! The link is here but scroll forward to the 45 sec mark.

Leave a Reply