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Sometimes it's as simple as telling a kid he's not allowed to say f#!%.

A new series of ads for Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver – all of them less than 10 seconds long – are designed to show prospective volunteers that getting involved is not as big a time commitment as they may think.

The campaign from ad agency DDB Canada's Vancouver office follows on the success of a delightful series of eight-second spots made for Big Sisters BC Lower Mainland last year. And they are tailor-made for social media, where attention spans are limited and ads have to make an impact quick in order to get people to look at them.

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The first campaign featured scenarios of a Big Sister volunteer answering her Little Sister's questions in humorous vignettes. The TV ads ran seven seconds, the radio ads just five seconds, and the campaign ran smaller-format print ads, all to help get the message across that volunteering is not a big time commitment. Following the launch of the ads, visits to the volunteer page on the organization's website rose 64 per cent, and volunteer applications rose as well.

Now the agency is modelling its Big Brothers campaign on those ads. The quick spots show a Big Brother answering questions about whether it's okay to say (bleeped) swear words and if "Rodeo Clown" is a viable career choice. Other vignettes feature the volunteer putting a book in the hand of his smartphone-obsessed Little Brother and directing a small hand reaching into a fridge away from a beer bottle and toward some juice.

The ads are running on television, online and on social media.

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