Putting Canadians on alert

A new series of PSAs hopes to connect with Canadians about the importance of emergency preparedness.


Pelmorex Media, the parent company of the Weather Network and MétéoMédia, launched a PSA campaign today around the country’s new weather and disaster alert system.

The $2 million bilingual national campaign, led by SquareKnot, includes TV, radio and digital placements along with a new website, AlertReady.ca, which explains the types of alerts that people may see, and emergency preparedness tips. Cundari took on the media buy for the campaign.

The new system allows broadcasters to have a simple method of alerting Canadians about severe weather or other emergencies including tornados, floods, biohazards and wild fires. Governments can create the messages, and Pelmorex’s infrastructure helps bring the alerts to broadcasters. Cable and satellite companies, radio stations, over-the-air television stations and video-on-demand services can all use the system.

The  campaign creates awareness about the new system, but also educates Canadians about disaster preparedness generally, says Paul Temple, SVP of regulatory and strategic affairs at Pelmorex Media. Canadians are likely used to seeing emergency messages on U.S. channels, but not an alert system here, he notes.

The PSAs are also meant to spark an emotional connection about emergency preparedness, without causing unnecessary fear.

“The need is basically to help protect Canadians because the system will only interrupt the broadcast if there is an event that is a threat to life,” he notes. “You’re not going to get a frost warning interrupting your hockey game. Obviously, when you see these, you’re going to know they’re important and that you’re probably going to have to take action to protect yourself and your family.”