Malick Ba

Revisiting Canada 150

July 4, 2017

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a relatively salty article about advertising and Canada 150. My main complaint is that I really just felt that because of the size and scale of the event, advertisers should focus less on a simple tactical event sale and more on you know…anything else. Canada 150 was a big deal and will only happen in the life time of few, so why not do it big or make something bigger out of it? So after the event, I’ve revisited the topic to see if I had any favourite Canada 150 ads, or if I even had any.

Roots: “Celebrating 150 years of being nice”

This ad had a nice sentiment to it. The Canadian stereotype revolves around people just being nice and inclusive and this ad reflects that. While I do think that this is severely exaggerated, this was a decent spot. Essentially, Roots Canada created an ad that focused on Canadians being nice throughout moments of Canadian history. The spot highlights historic moments and footage of history Canadians such as Terry Fox’s run for cancer. I have a big problem with Canadians relishing in the stereotype of just being “nice” when that may not exactly be as true as people thing…that’s why this ad is great. It has a call to action that serves the purpose of raising over $150,000 in support of WE Indigenous Youth Empowerment Programming. This is what being nice is all about. The MAD Mix gives this the official stamp of approval.

Presidents Choice: “Eat Together”

Another great example of advertising that says more than just selling a product. President’s Choice “Eat Together” tells Canadians that rather than being on your phone, or eating by yourself, why not engage with the people around you by simply eating together? So many of our problems as Canadians revolve around being scared or nervous of people who are different than us. People who are from different places and share different experiences than what we know. President’s Choice has done a fantastic job of telling Canadians that most of these problems in our day to day can be resolved if we just sat down and shared a meal together-and I completely agree.

Chevrolet Canada: The Canadian Dream

While I do like the notion of “The Canadian Dream” as it relates to our neighbours from the South, I think Chevrolet did a great job with making sure we as Canadians knew the difference. Chevrolet’s ad focuses less on material goods, and focuses on how personal experience and togetherness is much more valuable to Canadians. At just over 2 minutes highlights what Canada is all about: everyone being welcome and equal. Whether or not that is actually true, it’s a good sentiment that a brand has done to highlight positivity in advertising rather than just selling a product. Good job Chevvy-ya done good.

So there you have it, some ACTUALLY good Canada 150 ads. This is the difference between good brands, and lazy ones. Good brands take the time to produce stories through advertising. It sounds crazy, but advertisers should focus more on storytelling and less on selling products during big events like Canada 150. It makes the difference.

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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