TVO makes education fun

We've all encountered them at one time or another: the teacher's pet, know-it-all kid who has the answer to everything. It's these know-it-alls that Axmith McIntyre Wicht pokes fun at in a campaign for TVOntario's relaunched high school quiz show, Reach for the Top.

We’ve all encountered them at one time or another: the teacher’s pet, know-it-all kid who has the answer to everything. It’s these know-it-alls that Axmith McIntyre Wicht pokes fun at in a campaign for TVOntario’s relaunched high school quiz show, Reach for the Top.

Playing on TVO’s renewed emphasis on educational programming, the transit posters, which launched this week across Ontario, show a student with his hand permanently poised in the air – courtesy of duct tape – and ready to answer any question.

‘Our challenge is to make education fun,’ says Axmith CD Brian Howlett. ‘We approached [the campaign] like we [would] approach a poster for Sprite or Doritos.’ By using an irreverent, funny image, Axmith’s creative team hopes it will resonate with the teens and tweens they’re targeting.

Public transit was deemed the best way to reach a young demographic. ‘It’s a great medium for kids – that’s where they are,’ says Howlett.

Ellen Cole, director of communications for TVO, says the station is going back to its original mandate as an educational broadcaster, and that Reach for the Top, a show that pits high school students against each other, fits the bill in this regard. She says some viewers may have gotten the impression over the last few years that TVOntario was a public broadcaster because its programming didn’t overtly emphasize education. Cole says that by spotlighting the brightest kids in Ontario on a fun and competitive program like Reach for the Top, which has been off the air for at least 10 years, they can convey the idea that learning needn’t be a chore and also that TVO is the place to go should a student want to get to the head of the class.

The station’s tagline for the last year has been, ‘Where education matters – on air, online’ and they’ve bolstered the message by placing more emphasis on educational materials and shows – which include Ontario university course lectures and online educational guides. ‘The more we can get that message out, the more people can understand who we are,’ says Cole.

Credits

Client: TVO

Agency: Axmith McIntyre Wicht

Creative Director: Brian Howlett

Copywriter: Chris Hirsch

Art Directors: Andrew Gillingham, Ron Smrczek

Account Executive: Patricia Mixemong

Production: Sam Sham

Media: Scott Sanford, Ruth Smith