Pro-bono ads push numeracy issue

How long does it take you to figure out the tip? It is a little-known fact that 40% of Canadians have a basic or low numeracy level, according to The International Adult Literacy Survey. And the survey reports that numeracy skills in Canada lag behind those in other countries including Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.

How long does it take you to figure out the tip? It is a little-known fact that 40% of Canadians have a basic or low numeracy level, according to The International Adult Literacy Survey. And the survey reports that numeracy skills in Canada lag behind those in other countries including Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.

In order to raise awareness of this issue, the Toronto-based charity, ABC Literacy Foundation, will launch its first ever campaign on the subject of numeracy on July 22.

‘We have done campaigns in the past about reading and writing skills, so this time we wanted to help the public understand that math is part of literacy too,’ says Christine Featherstone, president at the foundation.

Three ads created on a pro-bono basis by Toronto shop Taxi feature an old-fashioned math book showing everyday problems. One shows a diagram of a pizza and the words: ‘You have nine teenage boys and a few seconds to divide a pizza equally. Too late.’ Another shows a restaurant bill, while the third features a diagram of a 3.8-metre bridge and asks the reader to calculate whether a 13-foot high rental truck will fit beneath it. Each ad includes the tagline ‘Math solves problems,’ and the words: ‘For millions of Canadians, easy as 1-2-3 isn’t.’ Readers are also guided to ABC’s www.mathliteracy.ca Web site and a 1-800 number that they can call for help.

‘We decided that the most obvious idea would be the most effective for this campaign,’ says Zak Mroueh, creative director at Taxi. ‘So many people have problems with everyday tasks that require math, like figuring out the tip, so that became the basic insight behind the campaign.

‘There is a general fear associated with numbers, so we tried to simplify the idea of math and show that it actually solves problems in life,’ he continues.

The ads have been sent out to thousands of magazines and newspapers across the country in the hope of garnering free media space, and Featherstone hopes the campaign will continue to run for years.

As a further extension to the campaign, Taxi is currently working on an interactive billboard poster which the foundation hopes to run later this summer in Toronto’s King Street subway station. Although the final creative has not yet been determined, Mroueh says possible ideas include using a giant-sized real calculator with the letters SOS running across the screen instead of numbers.

Credits

Client: ABC Literacy Foundation

Agency: Taxi

Creative Director: Zak Mroueh

Art Director: Vlad Karastoianov

Writer: Noreen McDermott

Account Management: Christian Stein

Production: Beth MacKinnon

Push takes Greyhound around the world

Greyhound has always been well known for its passenger bus routes, but few are aware that the company also boasts an international courier service.

In order to generate awareness of the service, Calgary agency Push created four posters that launched earlier this month in the parcel delivery sections within Greyhound bus terminals across Canada.

‘We chose to position the ads at the point of purchase to catch people as they are sending parcels within Canada,’ says Jason Sweet, art director on the campaign. ‘A lot of people know that they can rely on Greyhound to get a package to an aunt in Kelowna, but they don’t realize they can also send things around the world.’

The ads, which were produced on a tight budget of just $5,100 (before printing costs), all feature Greyhound courier trailers in different international destinations. One shows the trailer being pulled by a team of huskies through Canada’s snow-capped mountains, while another features camels pulling the van through the Sahara Desert. The remaining ads use a San Francisco streetcar and a gondola in Venice as the towing vehicles.

Each ad includes the tagline: ‘Delivery across Canada and the world,’ together with an information number. Sweet says stock photographs were used for each of the background scenes, and the images of courier vans were later superimposed over the top to create the desired effect.

Director of marketing for Calgary-based Greyhound Courier Express, Karel Fleurke, adds that the decision to include the Greyhound trailer in the creative was a deliberate strategy.

‘The Greyhound logo is one of the better recognized logos in the world but most people associate it with the passenger service. We wanted to take that familiarity and transfer it to our additional service,’ he says.

Since Greyhound Courier Express launched its international service last year, Fleurke says it has done better than expected, but he hopes the new campaign will help to double market share within the next year.

In the next six months, Push hopes to extend the campaign to magazine, transit and billboard locations.

Credits

Client: Greyhound Courier Express

Agency: Push

Art Director: Jason Sweet

Copywriter: Andy Shortt

Photography: Todd Patterson, Ridgerock Studios