RenoAssistance shows that getting a good contractor is no laughing matter

Francois Bellefeuille stars in its first mass work since being taken over by Desjardins.

RenoAssistance by Desjardins is using lighthearted approach to show homeowners that they can be confident in the contractors it sets them up with.

The company pairs clients with reliable contractors who are able to execute large-scale residential or commercial renovation projects. Founded in 2010, Desjardins became its majority shareholder in 2020. This first mass campaign following the acquisition was planned for shortly after it happened, but those plans were derailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the brand has enlisted comedian François Bellefeuille as its spokesman in a mass campaign. In the French TV spot, Bellefeuille goes into an interrogation room to discuss the 53-point verification contractors have to pass in order to be listed with RenoAssistance. In the English spot, an unlicensed contractor and friend of a brother-in-law casually admits he’ll abscond with a couple’s deposit.

“We wanted to highlight that we verify contractors thoroughly and humour works well in Quebec,” says Eric Périgny,  COO and founder of RenoAssistance. The concept of hiring or asking advice of a friend-of-a-friend is something a lot of people can relate to, Périgny adds, admitting that the founding of the company is in part informed by his experience losing tens of thousands of dollars through dealings with a disreputable contractor.

Supplemental spots will highlights the peace of mind provided when people choose a RenoAssistance-verified contractor, while a third  emphasizes the coaching provided until the renovation is complete by the company’s advisors.

“People just don’t know what to look for,” Périgny says of people taking on renovations for the first time. He tells strategy the goal of the campaign is to create awareness among Quebecers of RenoAssistance’s vetting services, which includes providing a verification report that includes a Contractor Confidence Index score, previous legal history, financial situation, client reviews and other key information.

According to recent RenoAssistance insights, 66% of homeowners surveyed believe they are likely or very likely to complete renovations worth at least $5,000 by 2024, while 64% of respondents will entrust their renovation work, in whole or in part, to a licensed contractor.

Contractors and owner-builders, according to the Quebec Building Act, are required to display a licence number issued by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ). Sometimes contractors use a number that isn’t registered, has expired, or illegally borrow one from someone properly licensed, Périgny explains.

“Everyone wants to avoid nightmares,” Périgny notes. And while referrals from someone you know may seem trustworthy, they may not have the skillset to do every type of job.

He tells strategy he hopes Bellefeuille is a long-term face of the company, rather than the campaign being simply a one-off. Bellefeuille recently co-hosted the annual hit Quebec satirical New Year’s show, Bye Bye, which in 2021 was the top-rated program in Quebec’s history, drawing 4.862 million people and representing a 94% market share for the night.

The brand worked with an internal agency and Quebec-based Idea Factory on the campaign. Directed by Simon Olivier Fecteau, televised spots will be supported by ad display, web banners, social media, newspaper and radio ads. Media was handled by Unanim with Médiavox.