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Posts Tagged ‘Hannah Smit’

john st. Wants Us to Know that Toronto is ‘More Than Ford’

Making a city self-promo is hard enough without having to compete against a crack-smoking homicidal mayor who has become a big-bellied joke of a scandal around the world. Toronto-based john st.’s “More Than Ford” compilation video of all things pleasant in its hometown attempts to do just that for a Canadian city that has been the unfortunate butt of the news for too long. The project comes from a good place, but the execution is typical, and as a result, uninteresting.

I think there’s a way to do this, to help Toronto separate itself from Rob Ford, but doing so would require a more self-aware, confrontational approach. john st. repeatedly puts out quality work, but this spot feels much too clean for the circumstances. Every city has people doing cool gymnastics in parks and drinking coffee. What makes this interesting and specific to Toronto? Where is the voice? It’s out there, but it doesn’t sound like a benign, glossy magazine cover.

Credits and a brief disclaimer after the drug-free jump.

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There’s More to Toronto Than a Crack-Smoking Mayor, #MoreThanFord Reminds Us

By now (unless you’re completely cut off from all news outlets and/or in a coma) you’ve heard of the crack-smoking shenanigans of Toronto’s disgraceful, conservative mayor, Rob Ford. Ford recently admitted to smoking crack (following an online leak of video evidence), adding that it was ”probably in one of my drunken stupors.” Obviously, people from Toronto are less than thrilled about Ford making their city the butt of a million crack jokes. The fact that Ford not only refuses to resign, but also plans to run for reelection, certainly doesn’t make things any easier.

Marie Richer and Hannah Smit, two Toronto art directors, found it “depressing that a city as great as Toronto has been reduced to an international punchline because of its mayor,” and decided to do something about it. They’ve created a social media campaign called #MoreThanFord, an outlet for disgruntled Toronto-dwellers to express everything they love about their city in an attempt to escape being defined by one especially douchey politician. Richer and Smith describe the campaign as “a way for us all to change the conversation about our city by sharing what we love about it – from small things like a favourite coffee shop, roti place or bike path to bigger things like Pride, TIFF, Nuit Blanche, the Jays, etc.” (Although, given their dismal 2013 performance, you may want to leave the Jays out of it.)

The idea launches today, with the compilation video of Toronto highlights featured above. The campaign’s success is being measured at a microsite, morethanford.com, which pits tweets with the #MoreThanFord hashtag against tweets with the #RobFord hashtag. #MoreThanFord already seems to be catching on, currently leading at 53% as I write this. The #MoreThanFord site invites visitors to tweet what they love about Toronto, or to let #MoreThanFord take over your feed and tweet for you. It also allows visitors to watch the #MoreThanFord video.

I’ve only been to Toronto once, for a short visit, but found it to be a charming city. It’s really sad to see any city’s reputation hijacked by one crazy, crack-smoking, racist, crooked conservative nutcase. So head on over to the #MoreThanFord site, or just tweet something you love about Toronto with the #MoreThanFord hashtag to swing things in favor of the campaign and restore Toronto’s damaged reputation. But if you are looking for some crack, I’m pretty sure Mayor Ford can hook you up. Credits after the jump. Read more

john st. Raises Up for Lake Huron with ‘Stop the Drop’

Lake Huron’s water level has been below “crisis level” since 1983. This year, the water dropped to the lowest level ever recorded, which can seriously harm the surrounding areas environmentally and economically. To seek a solution, Georgian Bay non-profit Stop the Drop has teamed with WPP-owned, Toronto-based shop john st. for a campaign meant to raise awareness about the issue. People are encouraged to register on stopthedrop.ca. The goal is to get 20,000 registered users by Labor Day (September 2), so Stop the Drop can take the documented support to put pressure on government officials.

To add to the campaign, john st. produced a short video of an event from late June when 2,000 bottles filled with Stop the Drop messages were placed on the shores of Killbear Provincial Park for visitors to read. The message-in-a-bottle trope is a creative method for the nonprofit to reach out to the public without social media. This is social networking, circa the 18th Century, and these sort of unique grassroots projects could help Stop the Drop achieve its goal as September nears.

Credits after the jump.

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John st. Pom-Poms Earth Hour

We’ve covered past john st. efforts, original campaigns that are usually quirky and honest without forcing the issue. The Toront-based agency’s newest fare, “Earth Hour Cheerspiration,” comes on the heels of a WPP takeover. And even though it’s too early to thumb the corporate acquisition for a change in creativity, ”Cheerspiration,” as you can see in the above video, lacks the off-beat humor we’ve come to expect from john st.

The spot is meant to promote Earth Hour for WWF Canada, when those interested will conserve energy by shutting off all lights for one hour on the night of March 23 (for reference, check out this previous Earth Hour work from TVF and Hot Chip). Associating the unwavering pep of five loud cheerleaders with an important cause seems misguided at best, especially since it’s not easy to understand their hollering and, well, they’re cheerleaders. They’re stereotypically dumb–not saying that’s true–and only likable to jocks and teenage girls who thought Bring It On was a great movie. Not sure what the connection is to Earth Hour–maybe there is no connection? But if that’s the case, then why?

Dare I say it…even couchgating was more entertaining, and that’s been my gold standard of witless advertising. Here’s to hoping for better work next time, john st. Two more “Cheerspiration” spots and credits after the jump.

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