Latest News

March 9, 2009

Immigration ain’t easy, eh?

By Kristin Laird

Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), the professional regulatory body for immigration consultants, has launched a national multilingual marketing campaign warning prospective immigrants against immigration fraud.

John Ryan, chair and acting CEO of the group, said the effort from McDonnell Haynes Ltd. aims to protect immigrants coming to Canada by raising awareness about the dangers of corrupt immigration agents offering their services.

Clients of immigration consulting services need to be aware that their best protection lies in hiring a member of either the CSIC, a provincial bar, or the Chambre des notaries du Quebec, because they’re the “only ones who can appear before the government on behalf of an immigrant who is paying for immigration service,” said Ryan.

“In some cases people are so desperate to be here… that they buy into some of these charlatan stories and they pay big money,” he said.

Launched Wednesday, the print ad features a spray can of “Instant Eh,” which sits in front maple leaf with a headline that reads: “Immigrate the easy way with just one spray of Instant Eh!”

The body copy reads: “Immigration is not that easy. Beware illegal agents who will make you think it is. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

The print ad is a light-hearted approach to a serious matter, said Ryan. “Immigration fraud is not a laughing matter. However, to catch people’s attention it was felt people would warm up to the concept of Instant Eh,” he said.

The ad directs readers to ( in French) which features a video that warns of the dangers of unscrupulous immigration representatives and a public service announcement by the CISC on the dangers of hiring an unauthorized representative. The PSA is also available on YouTube.

The print ads are running in English, French, Cantonese, Korean, Filipino and Urdu in major English and ethnic newspapers across Canada.

The campaign wraps up May 20, with a second phase scheduled to launch shortly after. McDonnell Haynes Ltd. also handled the buy.


February 15, 2009

Head ‘em up, move ‘em out.

We're moving to 65 St. Clair Avenue East on February 15th, 2009. Goodbye downtown. Hello midtown. You never know how much junk you've accumulated until a move forces you to face your pack-ratness. It's a cleansing and liberating experience. Have some fun and help our pup make the move. Play the game.

February 9, 2009

R.I.P. Millard Fuller

Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, passed away this February. He was a self-made millionaire who chose to sell everything he owned, give the proceeds to charity and begin a life of service. Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity, with the help of volunteers and future occupants, has built over 300,000 homes worldwide. Janice Ivory-Smith, McDonnell Haynes Creative Director and the person responsible for our involvement with Habitat for Humanity Toronto remembers a charismatic and dedicated man, "I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Fuller at one of his last speaking engagements in Toronto. He was passionate, funny, and a great story teller in the southern U.S. tradition."

February 6, 2009

Brilliant! Algoma isn’t Colossal

By Jonathan Paul

Algoma University wants prospective students to know that it won't force them to conform. The Sault Ste. Marie-based University, which was established in June, launched a sassy social media campaign promoting fictional "Colossal University," a place that churns out cookie cutter graduates.

The campaign, developed by Toronto's McDonnell Haynes Advertising & Design and targeting university bound kids in the GTA, uses wild postings and transit ads depicting a cookie cutter, a deli counter number dispenser and a light bulb with slogans like "Every Colossal U student will turn out exactly the same. We guarantee it." It also includes ads on Pizza Pizza's in-store digital signage network and streaming video banners on social networking sites. "Our target market lives on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, and MySpace," explains Anita Dong, president, McDonnell Haynes.

The creative drives traffic to a microsite for Colossal U,, where a young woman condemns the site's "offerings." An Algoma University logo drops down and the woman begins to explain why Algoma is different, and suggests watching professors and students talking about the university in video testimonials.

The campaign debuted in September at the 2008 Ontario Universities Fair, where Algoma's booth presented faceless mannequins with arms up to ask questions that couldn't be answered because the "prof" was on a video monitor.

Media buys for the campaign, which runs until mid-November, were handled by Toronto-based Magi Communications, and streaming video and links will continue to be placed on additional social networking sites.

STRATEGY November 2008

February 1, 2009

Did you know the “Real McCoy” was Canadian?

Neither did we until we started doing research for the TD Canada Trust in-branch recognition of Black History Month. We discovered that the real McCoy was the nickname for a railway car self-lubricating coupling and cup invented by Black Canadian, Elijah McCoy. Railway cars ran longer and more smoothly with Elijah McCoy's invention so railway workers came to insist on having "the real McCoy". It's a great story and a great way for TD to promote the contribution Black Canadians have made.