MaRS debuts first branding campaign in time for Collision

Who: MaRS Discovery District, Huge and Media Experts.

What: A branding campaign built around the tagline “Make innovation mean something.” This is the first branding work for the Toronto innovation hub, which is home to a large number of startups specializing in cleantech, health, fintech and enterprise software.

When & Where: The campaign will run for a month and is being launched to coincide with the highly anticipated Collision Conference in Toronto next week. Media includes TV, digital and outdoor, with a placement at Billy Bishop airport to target tech leaders arriving for the conference.

How: Creative juxtaposes stock footage of innovation cliches with real images of innovation coming out of MaRS, with a voiceover explaining difference between the two and mission for real change at MaRS.

Why: The idea behind this is that “innovation” has itself become cliché thanks to the self-important hype emanating from Silicon Valley, while MaRS is focused on startups and entrepreneurs working on solutions to real-world problems.

What kinds of problems? Oh just, you know, providing sight to the legally blind! “Every time we went to visit MaRS we came away so inspired, “ said Allen Oke, Huge’s executive creative director, in a release. “[W]e wanted the story to make our audience feel the same way we felt about all the meaningful things MaRS is doing everyday with entrepreneurs, putting their entire lives behind businesses that can change the world for the better.”

From the client: “Innovation and disruption have become clichéd terms, and through this campaign, we want to reclaim these ideas, re-establish trust with the public, and differentiate MaRS as a place where innovation is addressing our most pressing issues and is propelling society forward.” —Karen Mazurkewich, lead executive for communications and marketing at MaRS.

David Brown