H&R Block brings the humour back to tax time

The company updates its "Get What's Yours" campaign to once again show Canadians the benefit of utilizing an expert.

Many Canadians see tax professionals as a necessary evil, a bit like going to the dentist and perhaps only slightly less scary. For the second year it’s “Get What’s Yours” campaign, H&R Block is continuing to use cheeky humor to drive home the importance of relying on experts to ease the pain of tax time.

This year’s version of the campaign features two new spots: one where a man relies on his ex-wife to do his taxes (he gets a whopping $17 back after alimony) and another where an incompetent office worker does the books for his coworker, only to reveal an awkward wage discrepancy.

David Loria, director of marketing at H&R Block Canada, tells strategy that the insight behind the campaign is similar to last year: people trust dentists with their teeth, and doctors with their health, but when it comes to money, “there is a lack of trust,” leading many Canadians to lean on friends, family or do taxes on their own, even if they don’t have the knowledge to know if they’re getting back every dollar they deserve.

Loria says the campaign has been a successful new client-driver, and the first version strongly resonated with their consumer base. According to Loria, the company saw 4.5% new client growth, one its “best results in a long time.” He says the humorous approach has helped it demonstrate certain facts, like that there are pieces of private information friends and family shouldn’t know, and make the realities of tax season more digestible.

“Using an expert offers convenience, peace of mind,” he says. “And humor makes the message memorable.”

“Get What’s Yours” targets what H&R Block calls “shadow preparers,” people who are less trained, get started on their taxes at the very last minute, and “for a lower price point than us.” Loria says this group “may not consider the consequences of their lack of knowledge as it pertains to refunds” compared to those who are more seasoned and have a bit more experience preparing their taxes. That audience is instead served by H&R Block’s proprietary software that allows people to prepare taxes on their own.

H&R Block’s agency of record Sid Lee once again led creative for the national “Get What’s Yours” campaign, which features ads in out-of-home, pre-roll, digital and social in addition to the two new TV spots, a “blast en masse” according to Loria, during tax season. H&R Block also has a radio script that franchisees will use in regional markets.

According to the most recent Stats Canada data, the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services industry generated $18.8 billion in operating revenue in 2016, up 3.4% from the year prior and with a profit margin of 27.8%.