The government is very, very keen to let you know that Canada is 150 years old this year. Hence: Canada 150. A bunch of events are planned. You can get a free park pass. Library and Archives Canada is tweeting interesting tidbits under the hashtag #OnThisDay.
Anyway, Canada 150 is a big event that has tonnes of marketing potential and a few pitfalls. Here’s how to make the most of it.
DO Keep It Celebratory
Comedians and internet denizens are allowed to be snarky and cynical about Canada’s birthday. Marketers are not. Marketing that’s taking advantage of the fact that Canada is turning 150 should be celebratory, or, at least, avoid the cynicism trap. That said, there’s lots of potential for good-natured self-deprecating humour.
DON’T Wade into Controversies
The Bloc Québécois is hosting 150 events this year, with themes like “150 years of Quebec-bashing”. That’s smart communications for the Bloc—Canada 150 is a good platform for spreading their message, they provide an outlet for naysayers, and they get more attention then they’ve had in years.
Marketers, however, should avoid stuff like separation. It usually isn’t marketing’s place to comment on controversies.
DO Promote First Nations Artwork
Lots of content is art, and we’re in the mist of a boom in First Nations artwork. Marketers should pay First Nations artists to use some of that artwork in their marketing. It’s a vast untapped resource and uniquely Canadian. So why are marketers ignoring it?
DON’T Get Uber-Nationalist
Canadians like nationalism. Remember Molson’s “I Am Canadian” rant? That’s about as nationalist as Canadians like it. We’re never going to be like the States, with their massive paid patriotic displays at football games. It’s okay that they’re into massive overt nationalism, but most Canadians just aren’t. If you’re a marketer, let the aforementioned Molson rant be your guide. Anything more over the top than that probably won’t resonate so well.
The new ten dollar note will feature Viola Desmond, a civil rights campaigner who sat in a the whites-only section of a movie theatre in Nova Scotia in 1946. Though many are pleased with the decision, many also admit that they’d never heard of Desmond before. And that’s very true of lots of things about Canada and Canadian history.
Unlike traditional marketing, content marketing has the ability to take a very informative angle and run with it. There’s lots that Canadians don’t know about Canada, and content marketers can fill that gap.