Mood Swing

H&R Block gets musical for tax season

'Mood swing' reimagines Turtles tune to promote expert advice

H&R Block is aiming to lift Canadians’ spirits this tax season with a new musical campaign.

In a new 30-second TV spot called “Mood Swing,” people are feeling pretty somber about doing their taxes, but the mood shifts as they realize they can get expert help from H&R Block.

The spot is set to the classic Turtles tune “Happy Together” with revised lyrics about various tax situations. Singing characters are shown in different scenes, such as a couple getting married and a dad having a tea party with his daughters. They eventually come together and sing in a chorus as they walk down a street.

“The idea is to demonstrate that if you’re looking to understand whether or not you get a deduction on your eyeglasses, or your marital status has changed, or you’ve now got children, you can get expertise from H&R Block,” said Jill King, president of Sandbox, the agency behind the campaign.

“It shows a wide band of life experiences that could cause people to say, ‘do I qualify for a different tax benefit?’ or ‘how do I find out whether or not this change will impact my taxes?’”

Four accompanying 15-second spots also take a musical approach but focus on specific services such as instant cash back and H&R Block’s extended hours during tax time.

Last year’s campaign, “We Don’t Miss a Thing,” also focused on the company’s expertise, a shift in gears from the humorous “Tax Pain” campaign that ran for five years.

The campaign, running in English Canada, also includes radio, social, digital out-of-home, display ads and pre-roll. The media buy was handled internally and PR is being managed by Ketchum Public Relations.

A separate campaign for Quebec has the same premise as the English campaign — “whatever your situation is, H&R Block can help” — but features well-known Quebec personality Richard Turcotte asking people tax questions and directing them to H&R Block for answers.

King added that H&R Block faces a different issue strategically in Quebec. “The brand is less well understood in Quebec, and Quebeckers are maybe more willing to do [their taxes] themselves, or have a friend who is a bookkeeper do it, or seek advice for a relative,” she said. “So our campaign in Quebec is really about saying ‘you go to experts for certain things in your life, whether it’s for fine wine or to get your car fixed or to go to the doctor—you should really see an expert about your taxes.”

The approach is “more about making people familiar with the H&R Block brand, whereas in English Canada, people are very familiar with the brand. We just have to make it more relevant and relatable for them.”

Sandbox (formerly One Advertising) has worked with H&R Block since 2004, when the agency was called Due North Communications.

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