Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 2.00.56 PM

ACTRA touts actors as smart choice for agencies

Work from DentsuBos and 360i let industry types say what they really think

The union representing English-speaking actors in Canada has a saucy new digital, social and experimental campaign that calls on the advertising industry to hire professional performers — not amateurs or computer-generated spokespeople — to deliver brand messages.

With the tagline “Actors Say it Better,” the Toronto branch of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), has launched ACTRAgram.com, which allows users to “cast an ACTRA actor to say the things that would normally get you fired.”

The campaign, developed by DentsuBos and 360i Canada, includes some tongue-in-cheek messages for people in the ad business such as “Stop stealing ideas from Reddit,” “Your briefs are too long” or “You only come to meeting for the free food.”

The website encourages users to choose a message they want to send to a colleague, then pick a stereotypical ad character such as the “overly cheerful service industry professional,” “muscle pain sufferer” or “heartfelt plea for donations guy.” There are 100 different messages that can be sent.

ACTRA Toronto hopes they will be shared across social media to help raise awareness. Some of the participating actors include Wendy Crewson, Darryl Hinds and Colin Mochrie, to name a few.

David Sparrow, president of ACTRA Toronto, said the campaign is a humourous way to show the industry that professional performers “add real value to campaigns.”

“The viral ad put together in your nephew’s basement may get a number of hits, but the question is, ‘Does it drive sales?’” Sparrow says. “We think it’s a very positive campaign — and a little disruptive.”

Sparrow said it’s the first time his union has hired an agency to build a campaign to promote its members.

Cass Enright, vice-president and managing director at 360i Canada, said it’s also the first time he’s worked on a campaign directly targeting his own industry.

The goal was to make the campaign catchy, but also not “too preachy,” Enright says.

“We wanted something that will appeal to the industry in a fun and clever way that links to our world, while also getting the [ACTRA Toronto] message across,” said Enright. “I think we achieved that.”

ACTRA Toronto is also promoting some new online services it says will make it easier for clients to hire its actors.

“We hope in the next couple of years to become the Uber of the entertainment industry, where people say, ‘let’s go ACTRA because it’s easy, faster and better and they have the talent performers we want too’,” says Sparrow.

The ACTRAgram campaign was also featured at FFWD Advertising & Marketing Week in Toronto, where visitors had a chance to cast actors to record a message live.

Sparrow says there will also be some radio spots talking about the advantage of hiring professional actors, and reminding the general public about the role artists like these play in society.

“It’s up to us as unions to ensure that we are relevant going forward and that we stay competitive in a changing media landscape… and that we impress upon that public that when art is created, the intellectual property is wroth paying for,” Sparrow says.

Add a comment

You must be to comment.

Create a Commenting Account

Advertising Articles

Rethink Breast Cancer launches custom product line

Give-A-Care products designed for young women with breast cancer

ICA reveals new Sid Lee-designed brand identity

Work includes a new word mark and a "lockup" that attaches to all events

Former One Method designer stars in new Axe ad

The ad is part of Axe's "Self Maker" video series

The inevitable winner in the emotional vs. rational ad debate

Why sticking to the facts is not enough when lies are everywhere

John St. wins Home Hardware

The Toronto agency beats out five shortlisted shops in six-month review

MES 2016 maps out the customer journey for marketers

Experts from social, newspapers, direct mail and TV discuss integrated planning

Carlaw Communications scores a gaming client

Throwback Entertainment selects Toronto firm for media and influencer management

Trans-Canada Trail rebrands seeks to connect Canadians

Five-week digital campaign looks to build brand awareness of the 25-year-old trail