London, Ontario is making an offer filmmakers can’t refuse

The city is trying to lure productions by spoofing movies like The Godfather and Fargo in billboards across Toronto.


There are few films better than The Godfather at conveying the power of persuasion, and Film London is trying to persuade productions to shoot in the Southwestern Ontario city.

The London Economic Development Corporation, which recently opened a film office to attract productions to the area, is playing with imagery and lines from iconic films in OOH ads like The Godfather, as well as The Shining and Fargo.

The 12-week campaign, “One Stop. For Reel,” includes nine vertical billboards rotating locations and designs every four weeks, as well as three posters at King Station on the TTC.

“We knew that people might not have long to view these ads, and so we wanted something recognizable that would grab attention,” says Andrew Dodd, manager at Film London. Dodd tells strategy the campaign is already paying dividends and could lead to more media in the future, as well as expanding the campaign into other municipalities.

An adaption of the novel The Changeling, a production for Apple TV+, recently wrapped up in London, where downtown Richmond Street subbed in for ’70s New York City.

“We are trying to gain some recognition for London as a film location outside the regular hotspots,” adds Ashley Conyngham, director of marketing and communications for The London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC).

The Setting Vertical Billboard-Film-London

With the campaign, Conyngham says it’s having fun with films that the general public and filmmakers alike are familiar with. The organization used a similarly lighthearted approach when it generated a bit of success with a talent attraction campaign called “Don’t Tell Toronto,” in which it boasted about things like having fewer people per square kilometer, or its abundance of parks and affordable places to live compared with Toronto.

For “One Stop. For Reel,” QR codes track follow-through and campaign success for Film London, which is funded by the LEDC and provides location support, industry promotion, permitting and other resources. The organization has also created a number of databases for locations, resources, crew and performers through its Film London microsite.

Film London says it is a “significant campaign” and is its way of letting film companies know that London is ready for business.