Malick Ba

Canada 150 & Advertising

June 20, 2017

With Canada’s 150th birthday coming up, we had to talk about it. Over the last 6-7 months, Canadian advertisers have been trying to find elaborate, yet unique ways to express their Canadian pride. During this timeline, I knew that brands would be working furiously to try and find innovative ways to showcase themselves and truly Canadian. There have been some really cool campaigns that have come out, like Roots’ “Be Nice” campaign, or PC’s “Eat Together”. So as you can see, to not do anything would be a huge miss to some bigger brands! However, with creative minds scrambling and running quickly, this unfortunately can lead to some pretty bland or unoriginal ideas.

What do I mean by bland? Well, I mean to some Canada 150 is a pretty big deal. 150 years of being acountry is definitely something to celebrate to a lot of proud Canadians. So why sell yourself short? For example, I came across an article yesterday from The Brick. I mean, a sale is great. Saving time and money is a huge convenience, but does 60% off select brands of furniture really scream “Oh Canada”? Not to me.

Here’s another one by a Honda dealership. This one has absolutely nothing to do with being Canadian.“Celebrate 150 years of Canada by test driving a made-in-Canada Civic or CR-V”? It’s not like suddenly these are limited edition Canadian cars-it’s literally the same car, any year. This is a prime example of a company using Canada’s birthday as a means to push their product. This isn’t even slightly creative.




Me reading that ad—>






So as you can see, these are two pretty good examples of some pretty unoriginal examples or how brands are masking their own tactical sales events by using Canada’s 150th. Judging from this, I feel like Canadian brands or companies in Canada are really more into the idea of being Canadian than they actually are. As the week unfolds, I’m sure we’ll see way more tactical sales events options that are Canada 150-esque versus more ads that show country appreciation. Seriously, take a look at some of the advertisements that are coming out until July 1st. Yes. There are some really good campaigns out there that really embody what it means to be Canadian through an advertising lens. Let’s not forget that good advertising is all about storytelling. Ultimately, stamping Canada’s 150th birthday onto a sales event doesn’t nearly do the country justice.

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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