Tourists often associate Canadians with beavers, back bacon, ice hockey, maple syrup and Tim Hortons – these are the typical symbols of Canada. There is no doubt that these icons play a big role in creating the Canadian brand, however, Canada’s so much more than these things.
Last year, Canada welcomed its one-billionth tourist– given the milestone, it may be time to reconsider how Canada is being branded across the country and on the international stage. Also in 2012, Bruce Mau Design (BMD), an award winning design agency, partnered up their Toronto and NYC office to take on the challenge of updating Canada’s image. BMD celebrated Canada’s rich diversity through images and video.
These new icons include universal healthcare, immigration laws, the invention of peanut butter, Margaret Atwood, and of course…Ryan Gosling. The red columns associated with the Canadian flag were then used to frame the updated cultural icons. The innovative campaign is available to the public at KnowCanada.org
We spoke with Alexis Green, the Director of Communications at BMD, about their influential campaign and the positive response it received. Green explained, “Since launching in July 2012, we’ve been overwhelmed by the initial and continued response and support of the Know Canada conceptual campaign. BMD saw tremendous response here in Canada and around the world in the press and social media. Since launching, it has been featured by countless media outlets including the National Post, Globe and Mail, CTV News, Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Fast Company and was included in the 2012 Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design. We feel this positive reaction is due to the fact that Know Canada speaks to the vitality, energy and richness of Canada in the 21st century.”
When asked if BMD has any plans for the future of Know Canada Green replied, “We’d be willing to work with any public or private institutions to make the concepts a reality beyond the App. We think it’s a really strong idea that continues to build an audience and dialogue.”
So does all this mean that we’re ridding ourselves of the beaver and the syrup? Heck No! BMD is simply expanding our back-to-basics approach, they leveraged existing symbols and history to create a better brand story. While the the Canadian Government has not yet adopted the campaign, it illustrates an innovative approach Canadians and visitors can identify with.