Ontario Tourism goes epic with Pan Am/Parapan Am 2015 spot

New spot from FCB Toronto puts athletes on display

Ontario Tourism is preparing for an invasion of epic proportions.

It recently unveiled a high-flying, dramatic television spot to promote the Pan Am/Parapan Am 2015 Games. With the hashtag #EpicIsOn, the campaign features an incredible 147 athletes from Ontario who are participating in the Games as they flip, kayak, jump and run rampant all over various tourist destinations in the province.

Called “Invade,” the minute-long, cinematic spot created by the Corporation’s agency of record FCB Toronto had a quiet debut on Sept. 29 on TV, online and in-store monitors. Without a PR push, the clip has been developing a YouTube following, generating nearly 70,000 views as of Friday.

It opens with a helicopter shot of colorfully dressed rhythmic gymnast Carmen Whelan doing a split leap atop a grey rain-soaked tower on Adelaide Street in Toronto’s financial district. It gets more epic from there, as kayakers, jockeys on horseback and other athletes descend on various Ontario locales, including Centre Island, Rattlesnake Point in Milton and Dundurn Castle in Hamilton. Parathletes even race along the QEW near Ajax, and baseball players take swings on King Street.

“My favourite are the Viking-like soccer players running through the forest,” said Ronald Holgerson, president of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation. He said the shoot took eight days and was at times gruelling, but every athlete they asked to participate agreed with enthusiasm.  The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation invested $2 million in the effort, which it said is comparable to other campaigns.

“It really captures the notion of the invasion of the athlete, given that it is the largest sports event that’s ever happened in Ontario,” he said.

While the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation hopes the spot connects and resonates with a wide range of age groups, it was created with a younger audience in mind.

“We had an exercise around coming up with a way to resonate with people,” he said. “Young people today often use the word ‘epic’ to describe how they feel about something. ‘Oh my god, it’s epic.’… What we’re trying to do with this spot is make all folks come. It’s an opportunity to expose children and young people to athletics.”

Holgerson agreed that #EpicIsOn is partly an homage to the Canadian Olympic Committee’s #WeAreWinter campaign, an equally impresive push earlier this year that promoted Team Canada athletes in the Sochi 2014 Games.

“When people write YouTube comments that it ‘gives them goosebumps’ and it made them cry, it reinforces that we’ve made a commercial that’s going to resonate,” he said.

The spot was directed by Untitled Films’ Phil Brown. The soundtrack is Mischa “Book” Chillak and Esthero covering the 1968 Delphonics classic, “Ready or Not.” It runs for 13 weeks and will hit movie theatres closer to the holiday season.

Advertising Articles

BC Children’s Hospital waxes poetic

A Christmas classic for children nestled all snug in their hospital beds.

Teaching makes you a better marketer (Column)

Tim Dolan on the crucible of the classroom and the effects in the boardroom

Survey says Starbucks has best holiday cup

Consumers take sides on another front of Canada's coffee war

Watch This: Iogo’s talking dots

Ultima's yogurt brand believes if you've got an umlaut, flaunt it!

Heart & Stroke proclaims a big change

New campaign unveils first brand renovation in 60 years

Best Buy makes you feel like a kid again

The Union-built holiday campaign drops the product shots

123W builds Betterwith from the ground up

New ice cream brand plays off the power of packaging and personality

Sobeys remakes its classic holiday commercial

Long-running ad that made a province sing along gets a modern update