Directors Guild of Canada targets studio heads with ‘Hey Hollywood’ campaign

Who: The Directors Guild of Canada (Ontario chapter), Juliet.

What: “Hey Hollywood,” a new out-of-home and digital campaign aimed at getting Ontario directors, production designers and editors on the radar of Hollywood studio executives and producers. The DGC has more than 5,000 members nationwide, including more than 700 in Ontario.

When & Where: The first wave of ads targeting studio executives is running in Los Angeles from Aug. 19 to Sept. 5, before moving to Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 5-15).

Digital ads will greet arrivals from L.A. at Pearson International Airport, as well as along major highways leading into downtown Toronto. Targeted ads will also appear on Instagram and on digital boards in hotels around TIFF’s downtown hub. “It’s really trying to track [executives’] journey and target them in the most personal way we can,” says Juliet co-founder and chief creative officer Ryan Spelliscy.

Why a text-based approach for a highly visual medium? The creative is intended to feel like a letter to the people the campaign is targeting, rather than something overtly “ad-dy,” says Spelliscy.

“The easy thing to do would be to put up work with pretty images [accompanied by the message] ‘Come to Toronto,’ but we wanted to make something really pointed and direct,” he explains. “That drove the copy-heavy art direction.

“Our theory is that if I work for Universal and I’m headed to LAX or coming into Toronto and seeing a billboard that says ‘Hey Universal…’ that’s going to get my attention,” he says. “There are only so many people in Hollywood who are figuring out where productions should go, so it’s figuring out how to get on their consideration list.”

Screen shot 2019-09-03 at 3.14.05 PMHow: The ads remind Hollywood executives of the Ontario talent that has contributed to acclaimed movies and TV shows such as The Shape of Water, The Handmaid’s Tale and Game of Thrones.

They feature messages such as “Hey MGM: Not sure if should make your next picture with Toronto editors? Just ask Fox. And Shape of Water‘s 4 Oscars.” Other ads specifically address companies including ABC and Warner Bros.

The ads push to, which houses a mini-rolodex where studio heads can “swipe right” to view Ontario directors, production designers and editors they might want to get to know better. The site features Ontario talent including production designer Paul D. Austerberry (an Oscar winner for his work on The Shape of Water) and director Jordan Canning.

“Hollywood’s a competitive place, so we’re kind of tapping into their own drive to win those awards,” says Spelliscy.

And we quote: “The messaging is a little tongue-in-cheek. But we’re just reminding our friends at the studios that when they shoot in Toronto, they should remember that we’ve got talent sought after by the biggest names in film and television.” —Alan Goluboff, chair of the DGC Ontario executive board.


Chris Powell