The CTC tackles Canadian stereotypes

The Canadian Tourism Commission has asked actor Eric McCormack to help show New York that Canada isn't all moose, maple syrup and hockey.

Watch enough American television and you’re bound to find someone talking about Canada and its quirks. Deciding to play with the truisms rather than wrestle against them, the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has rolled out a US campaign that is all aboot eradicating the myths and misunderstandings that sometimes define Canada.

Canadian actor Eric McCormack was chosen to be the ambassador for the country, and play his part in helping to make Ottawa, Ontario and the Niagara Region stand out in the advertising campaign. He does this by consulting a team of marketers on what the country’s regions are really like by reminiscing, and sometimes ranting, about past experiences. These advertising pitches were cut into two 30-second commercials by NBC and placed on its TV and web properties.

Those same commercials are also airing on digital screens in taxi cabs in the New York metro market, as well as at train stations. Placement of the commuter-targeted advertising was handled by US-based Navigate, and looks to the NY market because of its proximity to the regions being showcased, the large population base and because it is a hub for air travel, says Suzanne Reeves, executive director of global communications, CTC.

“We’re trying to use the Canadian humour to attract an American audience and position Canada in a slightly different way,” she says. “It was a limited budget and we wanted to be smart about it, and because we could use video with some great audio [in cabs and train stations], we thought it was an intimate and fun way to engage with the audience.”

The “Canada: For the fun of it” campaign has a digital component too, with additional clips of McCormack talking about Canada and how it’s not all moose, maple syrup and hockey uploaded to an online vertical that sits on NBC’s website. It launched last week and is slated to run until mid-August, says Reeves.