Who: Huawei, Hill + Knowlton Strategies for creative and HeydSaffer for production.
What: A new made-for-Canada TV ad promoting the potential of the Chinese telecom’s 5G network capabilities for Canada.
When & Where: The ad debuted on Canada Day and will run through most of July on specialty TV and through social channels.
How: The ad opens on a Canadian family enjoying the Northern Lights on Sept. 15, 1987 (the same day Huawei was founded), before cutting to Sept. 15, 2025—with the same family spread across different locations but enjoying the Northern Lights together thanks to futuristic connected devices: driverless cars, hologram-projecting watches and smart glasses that look like normal glasses instead of this.
Why: Huawei wants to be a big player in Canada’s 5G roll-out. “Let’s make amazing things possible, with a better faster network all across Canada,” says the voicecover. The ad never actually mentions 5G, but Huawei is also directing people to this site, which includes the line: “Here’s why Canada needs Huawei’s 5G network technology.”
What about the problems between Canada and China? Huawei’s Canadian marketing challenges have clearly shifted in the past few months. But Chris Pereira, Huawei Canada’s director of public affairs, said that politics is not a factor here. “Politics were not a part of the considerations for the ad campaign,” he said. Huawei wants the message to be about how much it has done to connect Canadians during the 10 years it’s been operating in Canada, especially in rural areas and the far north. “We regularly run ads to emphasize the importance of connection and to highlight our dedication to Canada, especially the Far North,” he said.
Why 2025? That’s the year Huawei predicts “all things will be sensing, all things will be connected, and all things will be intelligent,” said Pereira.
And H+K led creative? Another example of PR shops extending their creative reach. In this case the campaign was overseen entirely by Chris Davies, who was hired as H+K creative director last October. “Huawei had this nugget of an idea for the spot and then I took that nugget and fleshed it out into a spot,” said Davies. The nugget was to show future state technology that could be right around the corner thanks to a next generation network. As a writer and experienced CD at agencies like Traffik, BIMM and Taxi, Davies wrote the script and led all aspects of the shoot, including hiring HeydSaffer, just as he would at any creative agency.
Quote: “With this campaign, we want to emphasize our commitment to Canada, and the importance of connection. A better, faster network will help connect families across Canada, especially families living in communities in Canada’s Far North. Huawei has been connecting communities in Canada’s Far North since 2008.” — Chris Pereira, director of public affairs, Huawei Canada