TIFF puts storytelling in context

The organization uses geo-targeted ads to drive home Canada's legacy in film, TV and advertising.


Canada 150 has undoubtedly provided a platform for brands to incite some national pride, with TIFF now using the occasion as its chance to put Canadian storytelling in the limelight… including the storytelling undertaken by Canadian brands.

The organization, known for the annual Toronto International Film Festival, has debuted “Canada on Screen,” its program dedicated to showcasing the country’s “150 essential moving-images productions.”

Along with a digital catalogue of those 150 retrospective picks, which debuted last week as part of National Canadian Film Day, the organization is also hosting a series of installations, special events and guest speakers.

Of note, included in a retrospective collection is some of Canada’s most iconic advertising work, such as Molson Canadian’s “The Rant” and 1967′s “Do you eat the red ones last?” for Smarties.

“There are quite a few commercials that have reached iconic status because they tap into the zeitgeist or offer a profound message for the country,” Rachel Noonan, director of marketing, communications and strategy at TIFF says of why advertising was included in Canada on Screen.

To promote the initiative, TIFF’s internal agency, which it calls Department 30, teamed up with Isobar on a campaign aimed at reflecting Canada’s storytelling pedigree.

“We Made It” launched last week, with marketing rolling out over the next month. The campaign – which includes social, digital and out-of-home –  is centred on being contextually relevant, using geo-fencing to target consumers with creative tied to relevant locations, such as Toronto’s iconic Degrassi Street.

“Oftentimes we don’t nod to our own storytellers maybe as much as we do to international or stateside storytellers,” Noonan says. “One of the impetuses for the campaign was being unapologetically Canadian and also creating this very direct through line [“We Made It”] between us – the citizen – and the storyteller.”

Isobar has also created a 60-second video restrospective using iconic film content from a range of the 150 works, which will be promoted across YouTube, Facebook and Amobee’s network.