Burning up the headlines

'Burn Rate,' the latest campaign from Toronto-based investment firm Mackenzie Investments, scored major media attention, landing coverage by almost 100 news outlets across Canada as of press time. Quite the feat for the typically staid financial category.

‘Burn Rate,’ the latest campaign from Toronto-based investment firm Mackenzie Investments, scored major media attention, landing coverage by almost 100 news outlets across Canada as of press time. Quite the feat for the typically staid financial category.

The effort, by Toronto-based agency Lowe Roche, involved three print executions, a microsite (www.burnrate.ca) and a PR push that included multi-piece informational packages for media. Clearly, novelty pieces like the small paper ‘Burn Rate Calculator’ helped Mackenzie stand out in newsrooms buried in press releases.

All messaging directed people to the Web site, where consumers could calculate their own ‘Burn Rates’ to figure out how to save more money.

We asked Eva Polis, associate CD at DDB Edmonton, and Jim Diorio, CD at Toronto-based Manifest Communications, to weigh in on whether this campaign lights their fire.

OVERALL CONCEPT

JD: A simple, un-advertising idea that explains in friendly terms and a refreshing voice that we are doomed unless we smarten up, and soon. Which makes sense coming from the ‘choose wisely’ people.

EP: I can relate to ‘Burn Rate,’ and am betting thousands of other Canadians can. It pulls you in with humour and doesn’t scare you away with investment speak.

PRINT

JD: It tells you something relevant in a witty and assured voice. The body copy, however, doesn’t fully follow through on the arresting provocation of the headline. It moves away from that territory and unnecessarily so, because the overall idea and attitude is so likeable and helpful that it could handle a little more bite.

EP: I found the ads refreshing and insightful. The copy tone is perfect for the target and ‘Burn Rate’ becomes a great catch phrase for the uninitiated. Even though there is a fair bit of copy, it’s easy to read. It made me laugh and acknowledge the errors of my spending. This campaign could easily extend to other target groups and even funnier headlines.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

EP: ‘Burn Rate’ obviously captured the media’s attention – with ‘burn’ making its way into numerous headlines. The ‘Burn Rate Calculator’ really hit home the message of just how little you have to save to make money. Okay, I’ll give up my Chai lattes, but hands off my ‘trendy’ jeans. JD: While the tone of the ad campaign (which I like to call ‘friendly terror’) has been sustained, the addition of just the right amount of financial information, written in brief, simple nuggets that the media can relay to readers, probably made this package stand out amid the

bible-thick kinds of prospectuses that drop onto editors’ desks daily.

WEB SITE

JD: Well-integrated with the concept visually, but there are a couple of ‘calculators’ that I wish were better explained in that friendly, tutorial voice [used in other components] and made even simpler for someone like me, whose idea of financial planning is hoping for a huge meteor to smash into the banks so that they all collapse and all the records are gone forever.

EP: This is where I feel they could have explored even more. I was disappointed to find only the [can you afford to keep your] wife/husband/kids ‘Burn Rate’ calculations. That said, the narrator was entertaining.

The creds:

Client – Mackenzie Investments:

John Dale, EVP; Valerie Shaw, VP; Steve Wylie, AVP

Ad agency – Lowe Roche:

Geoffrey Roche, CCO; David Glen, AD; Brian Murray and Brent Choi, copywriters; JJ Hochrein, business director; Sal Sloan, business manager

Interactive agency – henderson bas:

Michael Gramlow, CD; Catherine Baird, lead designer; Carmella Akiki, project manager; Henry Chi, illustrator; Lance Mohring, technology

PR – Environics:

Catharine Marion, senior consultant; Bruce MacLellan, president; Kim Race, VP.

Media – PHD Canada:

Terri Labelle, account director; Caroline Moul, account manager