Royal Canadian Mint drops a new dime

Who: The Royal Canadian Mint, with McCann Canada (which was named the Mint’s AOR late last year) for strategy and creative, Westside Studios, Alter Ego, Pirate Toronto for audio, and Media Experts for media.

What: “A History of Making Change,” a bilingual brand campaign promoting the release of commemorative coins celebrating key moments in Canadian history. The Mint ran video ads promoting a $2 coin marking the 1921 discovery of insulin during the summer, but this work is focused on three new dimes celebrating the 100th anniversary of the world-famous Bluenose schooner’s victory in the 1921 International Fishermen’s Cup Race (see all of the videos below).

When & Where: The campaign debuted on Oct. 22 and is running until Nov. 13 across conventional and specialty TV, complemented by a social activation (more below) and a partnership with The Weather Network that includes a homepage takeover and a sponsored segment on its daily podcast, This Day in Weather History.

Why: The Bluenose has been featured on Canada’s 10-cent coins since 1937, but this is the coin’s first redesign in 84 years. It also marks the first time the Mint has used blue paint (representing the Atlantic ocean) on the coins. The Mint has put about six million of the painted dimes into circulation, as well as nine million unpainted coins.

The accompanying campaign is designed to appeal to both collectors and everyday Canadians who may be interested in the new coins, said Virginia Gaffney, the Royal Canadian Mint’s senior manager, integrated marketing communications.

The Mint has adopted an “always on” approach to marketing, said Gaffney, employing a “hero and hub” approach in which it puts three major campaigns into market throughout the year, accompanied by “niche” storytelling initiatives that live primarily online.

How: The video spots have something of a “Heritage Minutes” feel to them, which is deliberate. “We were going for heritage with a current day twist,” said Gaffney. “It has a little bit of a modern twist to get a new audience excited about the topic.” The spots use a combination of photography, visual FX and cinemagraph (a technique that blends photography and video) to bring the Bluenose’s famous victory to life.

In addition to the video creative, the Mint is also using Twitter to provide a fictional blow-by-blow account of the race, creating handles for the U.S. schooner Elsie and the Bluenose, as well as Bluenose captain Angus Ward and Cordelia Auclair, a reporter covering the race for the Maritime Star.

The tweets feature the various participants bantering with one another and providing followers with updates on the race as it unfolds. “We wanted Canadians to relive the excitement of the race as though it were happening now—retelling the timeless story of Bluenose in the most timely manner,” said Badr El Fekkak, vice-president of strategy at McCann Montreal.

And we quote: “We’re trying to take a new approach to get people excited about history, which is a challenging thing on a good day. We’re really pleased with the innovation that McCann has brought to the table, as well as the innovation in the ad buy that Media Experts brings.” — Virginia Gaffney, senior manager, integrated marketing communications, Royal Canadian Mint

Chris Powell