Toronto Repositions Its Views With a New Ad

March 13, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai, Content Editor

Canada: often confused by Americans for being farther from the United States than it is and always associated with wintery symbolism.

You’ve seen the various travel ads for Canadian provinces.

They always feature:

  • Mountains

  • Lakes

  • Fields (both of the grass and wheat variety)

  • Plaid shirts

  • Snow

You’d think we all live in rural Canada. This isn’t to discredit the natural beauty our country has to offer. Canada has the largest source of freshwater in the world, some of the oldest rocks in the world, and the longest coastlines.

It is seriously stunning and often taken for granted.

But another thing taken for granted is that Canada is home to a huge urban dwelling, one with its own unique culture centres, neighbourhoods, foods and style.

Toronto. The Six. Views. Drake.

Looking to reimagine and rewrite the traditional “travel Canada” narrative is J. Walter Thompson Canada and MEC Canada who worked together to launch the “The Views are Different Here” campaign for Tourism Toronto.

Toronto has grown up to become “Canada’s downtown” now.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s why:

1. Rewriting a narrative, and successfully so, is difficult.

As explained above, there’s already so much noise in the Canadian visuals department. When you think of the words “tourism” and “Canada,” certain images always come to mind without fail.

Not to be too nature-focused, but when faced with that kind of context it’s like swimming against the current.

There are years and years worth of nature shots and loon calls out there and it’s set a nice stage to remind new audiences (or should we say, tourists) of Canada’s natural splendour.

It’s the narrative that’s always been told.

So when someone comes in and decides to tell a slightly different narrative, it’s tough to determine if it will cut through the other stuff. There’s a chance people want change, but there’s also the chance that people just want to see more birds-eye-views of the Rockies.

Yet this is a part of being anti-establishment. It’s about fixing something that wasn’t necessarily a problem, but that people just passively accepted.

Should content ever be passive? (No.)

2. Differentiation is worth it.

Staying true to existing history isn’t wrong, but it doesn’t differentiate.

The establishment says Canada is about the wild north and nature, but that’s a grossly large oversimplification of the things Canada represents. In fact, there’s a whole other narrative (read: content opportunity) that people are leaving out.

The urban centres, or in this case, Toronto.

J. Walter Thompson Canada and MEC Canada forwent the usual and brought Canada’s tourism into 2017.

The usual tourism ad simply says “look what you can see here.”

This ad says that plus:
-This is what we believe in (love is love is love no matter who it’s with)
-This is what we have to offer (history, culture, the arts, music, etc.)
-This is the talent we have (Blue Jays, Drake, etc.)

In just over 60 seconds, the vibe, heritage and story of Toronto is told in a way that is representative and accurate.

No more old subways and CN Tower shots. No, Toronto is much more than that and now people get to see all of it because this ad didn’t stick to the usual storyline.

3. It doesn’t just bring in new audiences, it reunites original ones.

The goal here is to illuminate Toronto as “Canada’s downtown” and bring in the tourists.

Runaway Americans jokes aside, it isn’t bad to give some love to the loyal original audience: Torontonians.

Here’s the idea broken down simply: making them proud means making them like the content. Making them like the content makes them share that content.

Voila, extra distribution that you didn’t have to pay for.

As much as bringing in new views (no pun intended) matters, maintaining the consistent ones are also important. Those are the people most likely to recommend it to others because they are already familiar with it.

It makes the final affect that much more lasting when the content can rally a great group of people together through their shared pride. And they love it.

The final experience is amplified in a way that can’t be done by trying to convert strangers.

Now bring on the views.

Congrats to J. Walter Thompson and MEC Canada on a story well done. It’s about time we ditched the mountains for something with a little more flair.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

Previous Article
Learning with Logan: March 6 - March 13
Learning with Logan: March 6 - March 13

It's all about the social media universe in Learning with Logan. This week's edition looks at Instagram's G...

Next Article
From Over Here: Don't Call Me an Expert
From Over Here: Don't Call Me an Expert

Robin Whalen takes a look at Terry O'Reilly's book "This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence...

The Battle for Time - Week of March 5.