BMO shifts focus to female entrepreneurs

An all-female agency team at FCB puts the bank's Celebrating Women program in the spotlight.


BMO has been promoting its female entrepreneurship programs with an online video and social campaign to make sure women’s accomplishments in the business world don’t go unnoticed.

Two videos, “Sam” and “Jamie,” depict successful businesses started by entrepreneurs. The cameras focus on male characters while voiceovers describe the efforts Sam and Jamie made to get their companies off the ground. A focus shift reveals that the women in the background of the shots are the bosses, however.

The online videos (which went live at the end of October) were backed by a week-long search campaign that saw the bank buy 100 search terms typically related to male business leaders – CFO, managing director, co-founder – in order to populate paid search results with female business leaders supported by the bank’s Celebrating Women platform.

The campaign was designed to grow awareness of Celebrating Women, which gives support and visibility to female entrepreneurs.

“Women are changing the face of leadership,” says Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, chief creative officer at FCB Toronto, the agency behind the campaign. “We wanted to create a wider awareness of the issue.”

FCB assembled an all-female team to build the campaign, an effort that extended from concept creation all the way through to the video production teams.

“BMO didn’t ask for that specifically,” Crimi-Lamanna said, “but when the brief came in, all the women in the agency were passionate about the project and put their hands up for the project. It was something we connected with, and a lot of the solutions were grounded in our own experiences.”

The awareness campaign had been in the works in the better part of a year. According to Jennifer Carli, BMO’s North American VP of brand and content, the decision to promote the program came after it won its second Catalyst Award, which recognizes companies striving towards workplace diversity and inclusion, in February.

The campaign has wrapped for the time being, but Crimi-Lamanna says similar work may surface again in 2018.