CUPE Local 79 creates a fictitious character to warn of potential cuts to Toronto services

Who: CUPE Local 79 and Media Profile.

What: A new Toronto-centric awareness campaign, “People who care.”

When & Where: The campaign broke this week with a 30-second TV spot running across CTV, CP24 and Citytv. A radio ad debuts on Toronto’s AM1010 on Jan. 13, running for three weeks. A dedicated website will also house a series of short films.

Why: The campaign is alerting the public to the threats posed by potential cuts to public services by overzealous municipal officials.

CUPE Local 79, which represents the city’s inside workers, is the largest municipal union in the country. Its more than 20,000 full and part-time members work in recreation centres, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and employment resource centres.

How: The ads follow a fictitious Toronto councillor called Robert Cuttingham (who goes by the name Bob Cutz), who is committed to reining in what he perceives to be wasteful spending on services such as child care, long-term care and water testing. “I’m on a mission to save this damn city some money,” he informs viewers.

The campaign debuted with a 30-second launch spot depicting him as oblivious to the impact of proposed cuts. It will be followed by a series of shorts following his efforts to cut costs across sectors such as recreation, long-term care and food safety.

Chris Powell