Canada Revenue Agency
enhance the CRA’s reputation as a trusted, fair, and helpful organization while also
motivating people to do their taxes.
Every Dollar Counts is a federal public service campaign whose objective is to enhance the CRA’s reputation as a trusted, fair, and helpful organization while also motivating people to do their taxes. Many Canadians are worried about making ends meet. High housing costs, mounting inflation, a rapidly changing job market, and the steady erosion of things that used to offer a sense of security are adding to a pervading sense of uncertainty. Many Canadians feel they’re working harder than ever but aren’t getting ahead. Now more than ever, Canadians rely on income tax returns to help support their families.
However, certain segments of the population face barriers to doing their taxes. From a general lack of awareness of mental or physical health issues to living in remote areas to low financial literacy. Given this range of backgrounds and circumstances, it’s important that the Government of Canada make proactive and targeted efforts to reach vulnerable populations with important tax-related information.
But tax time is a busy time in the media market as tax preparers and software companies mount their own advertising campaigns, which the CRA must compete with by being compelling and distinctive enough that messages don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Crafting a message about income tax salient enough to reach audience members during tough times in a cluttered media environment was a tall task. Our research revealed that, in general, taxes are viewed as a necessary evil: an onerous administrative undertaking that seems to come too frequently with the return of spring each year. Though who can argue that getting money back on your taxes doesn’t feel great? Taking the approach that tax time can mean extra income was our starting point.
We cast a range of real people who could speak candidly about what that extra money allowed them to do. Swimming lessons for the kids with money back from the Canada Child Benefit. New sneakers for a young man with money back from the GST/HST Credit. For folks living with disability, life is extra expensive, and the Disability Tax Credit is designed to offset those added costs. We arranged un-scripted testimonials by non-actors so that members of the wider community could see themselves reflected in a pragmatic and immediate light.
Using candid photography, we placed the target audience at the heart of the creatives and set them in a bright, airy environment, allowing us to capture authentic moments. The work appeared as 6- and 15-second testimonial video advertisements, static ads on social media and digital channels, and was also formatted for radio and digital audio.
The advertising was also required to position the CRA messages as reliable, authoritative, and trustworthy for Canadians to receive the messages positively. We did this using voice-over, captions, and official messages capping off each spot so folks are reminded of certain practical information, such as: getting benefits and credits is dependent on filing a tax return, continuing to receive benefits and credits requires doing one’s taxes every year, and free tax clinics exist for individuals with modest incomes or simple tax situations.
- On-site video and photography services
- Production planning and management
- Post-production services
- Account management and coordination
- Creative direction
- Marketing strategy
- Graphic design and asset finalization
During the first phase of the campaign, our ads reached over 662K unique web visitors across TV, digital, print, and radio. This exceeded our original goal by 19% and represented a 25% increase from last year. Additionally, social media was a significant success, with our overall VCR of 20.26% more than triple the Government of Canada benchmark of 6.46%.
We learned from our past success and expanded our reach across more social media platforms. Specifically, we developed customized ads for Snapchat, connecting with younger audiences in a fun and engaging way that was native to the platform.
Feast’s Benefits & Credits campaign for the Canada Revenue Agency won three Telly Awards, including Gold for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a Commercial Campaign.