H&R Block courts two distinct multicultural audiences

The tax brand has boosted spending as part of a five-year strategy, starting with different approaches for newcomers and those who have been in Canada a bit longer.

block-campaign-adH&R Block is reaching out to two different multicultural communities, reinforcing its brand identity, and allaying tax time worry.

In-language ads for Chinese and South Asian communities are targeting separate multi-ethnic personas in a digitally-driven campaign – the self-explanatory “Newcomer,” as well as the “The Tenured Immigrant,” someone with deeper roots, but tapping the anxiety surrounding tax time, albeit in a slightly different way.

David Loria, director of marketing at H&R Block Canada, tells strategy that compared with a conventional audience, the creative aimed at established multicultural communities are geared around “hey, am I doing this right?,” a fear of missing out on some critical detail, such taking advantage of a refund opportunity.

For example, in the Chinese language spot “Block Game,” a father is playing building blocks with his daughter. His wife gives him a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency, and he thinks that there’s a detail his accountant might’ve glossed over. It’s based on the insight that with tenured immigrants, there’s a tendency to think that their go-to local accountant has everything covered.

By contrast, “Movie Night” shows younger immigrants settling in to binge watch a favourite show. And they get a startling text about whether they’ve started their taxes. And it’s based on insights around the steep learning curve that comes from coming to a new country, navigating a new tax system and wondering who to trust.

Both spots differ from H&R Block’s standard, wackier mass market “we’ve got your back” reassurance messaging built around humor, with a more serious approach.

The videos are also meant to boost name association between H&R Block, taxes and being worry free. While the brand has built considerable name recognition over five decades in the English language markets it serves, it’s still relatively new to large swathes of this target audience.

“We’ve invested a lot more time and dollars into our newcomer campaign” Loria says. “A lot of our growth comes from immigration, and it’s important that we are intentionally targeting newcomers,” adding that the demo is highly brand-loyal.

The campaign is in market a bit later than a usual tax campaign because of the complexity of shooting campaigns in a lockdown environment. But Loria says it is still out in time to meet the second of two spikes it typically sees around tax season: after early filers finish up in the first week of March, there is also a group of procrastinators who begin later in the month.

And there will be chances to build on the approach in the future. Ad spent is slightly increased this year, Loria says, and not just in response to heightened anxiety around taxes, due to the complexities brought on by the pandemic; it’s part of a broad five-year strategy aimed at a newcomer cohort, and he sees its budget continuing to increase annually.

The campaign, developed by Stradigi, launched on Facebook, Google’s display and video platforms and WeChat. Curated content, in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and English – are also hosted on the MyCanadianLife multicultural engagement marketing platform.