H&R Block cures tax pains

A new campaign from Toronto-based Due North Communications takes a literal view of tax time being a pain in the ass.

Doctors can’t cure the seasonal discomfort of tax time, but H&R Block wants Canadians to know it can provide relief. 
 The company’s new campaign, developed by Toronto-based Due North Communications, is a departure from last year’s effort, when it ran its American ads north of the border. It’s specifically tailored to the Canadian market, shifting away from the U.S. strategy – which is informed by the American fear of the IRS – to one that embraces the Canadian view of taxes being a chore.
The effort features versions for both English-speaking Canada and Quebec. The English consists of two TV spots, one targeting “early” filers looking for fast cash and another for “mid-to-late” filers looking for expedience and large refunds. Both literally compare tax time to a pain in the ass, and show hapless patients seeking relief from various medical professionals, to no avail, until they are saved by a quick visit to H&R Block. Tactical radio, running until the end of April, online, OOH, print executions and a DM piece acting as an envelope to stuff all your tax-related info into, round out the English media mix.
“The strategy was to let people know that H&R Block removes a burden by making taxes pain-free,” says Karen Howe, senior VP, CD, Due North Communications.
Quebec’s version of the campaign focuses on the province’s preference for dealing with specialists in their
day-to-day – like going to the bakery for bread, or the butcher for meat – and positions H&R Block as the tax specialist. The effort spans TV, POS and online support.

advertiser: H&R Block
agency: Due North Communications
CD: Karen Howe
copywriter: David Gee
AD: Shawn Wells
account director: Jeff Robinson
director: Kevin Donovan, Wilfrid Park
producer: Kali Kyriazis
prodco exec producer: Angie Colgoni
editor: Andy Ames, Panic & Bob
sound: Terry O’Reilly and Chris Tait, Pirate Toronto