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Case Study: Grey Cup hits the city


Create a campaign that would earn buzz and showcase Scotiabank as one of the most prevalent Grey Cup sponsors. Other sponsors would be vying for attention, not to mention all the other noise in the market beyond the event. Our target audience included citizens of the city, members of the branch, employees of the bank, and tourists. 

For us, the biggest challenge here was in finding a way to engage with such a broad target audience. 


We leaned into our empathy-centered approach to see how we could tap into the emotions of an entire city. What is one thing all people in a city have in common? The city they’re in. Even those who are fond of their city can grow bored of its views. They make their daily commutes on autopilot—blocking out regular old billboards. If we wanted to generate some excitement and rake in earned media we would have to catch the city off guard.

The ‘Grey Cup Hits the City’ campaign took advantage of non-traditional advertising and created photo-worthy installations using larger-than-life footballs (about 6′ x 6′ x 5′) that appeared to have crashed into high-traffic areas of the city. These giant footballs appeared in airports, stadiums, bank branches, billboards, the Grey Cup parade, and the Grey Cup Street Festival. The unexpected installations disrupted the views that the host city patrons would have become so used to—ones they would usually pass by without really looking.    

The campaign extended to include branch wraps and posters, outdoor and radio advertising, activations, digital advertising/power ring animations, way-finding decals, event decor, and in-branch contests. 

Radio Audio no.1


Radio Audio no.2


We also created interactive outdoor advertising with billboards that featured the flags of all participating teams. Specific flags were lowered in the early hours of the day to track which teams were finished for the season and which still had a chance of winning the Cup. 

Throughout the project, we had weekly calls with the client so we could explore new ideas and push the boundaries together. It was a true collaboration.

Creating multiple touchpoints that engaged our audience before, during, and after the Cup let us take a weekend-long event and make it relevant for many months. 


Overall, this campaign demanded attention and created that “buzz” the client was after. 

Scotiabank employee morale went through the roof, and the campaign exceeded expectations initially set for brand awareness and recall. 

The campaign earned various media coverage. Ambient ads were pictured in local media, and CFL players posed with the Scotiabank football upon arriving at the airport. During the Grey Cup Street Festival, attendees were quick to snap pictures in front of the football that had “crashed” into the street. 

The campaign evolved annually for a period of seven years as we worked directly with the head office’s Toronto-based marketing team. After this time, the campaign was fully optimized and could be easily maintained by their in-house team.


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