Ownr wants to make it easier for business owners

Who: Ownr (an RBC Ventures company), with The Garden for strategy and creative, Someplace Nice for production (directed by Pete Henderson), The Vanity for online and VFX, and Initiative for media.

What: “Make Small Business Easy Less Hard,” is a new brand platform for business, which offers software to help entrepreneurs cut through red tape—like incorporation, registrations, and legal paperwork—so they can focus on their core business.

When & Where: The campaign launched Feb. 22, running in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. on connected TV, online, social/digital, radio and out of home/TSAs.

Why: This is the first mass campaign for the five-year-old business, and comes at a time when many Canadians are thinking about, or have started, their own business during the pandemic.

Ownr saw a 70% increase in new business registration clients, and a 102% increase in incorporations between 2019 and 2020.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and through this pandemic, we’ve seen the spirit of ingenuity shine bright as ever,” said Ownr’s head of marketing, Zaeem Sarwar, in a release.

Ownr is looking to build on its momentum with a large scale, multi-media campaign that tells entrepreneurs they can help them cut out paperwork and focus on the important stuff that will let them succeed.

How: Three different ads feature small business owners—a marketing agency, a microbrewery and a contractor. Each one humorously shows some of the many unexpected problems that entrepreneurs can face at any time, like the office slide that doesn’t reach the floor at the ad agency. The message is that while they deal with those challenges, they can worry less about paperwork thanks to Ownr.

The out-of-home, and social ads show business owners struggling to complete tasks because of the paperwork in their way, and have more specific product copy lines like: “Make Annual Return Filings Easy Less Taxing”, and “Make Paperwork Easy Less Work.”

Each of the video ads uses a one-shot approach. “It worked perfectly for these spots to help show how much small business owners have to juggle on a daily basis and to help the viewer feel the chaos,” said Francheska Galloway-Davis, creative director at The Garden.

“Also, knowing these would be online video, it made sense to make them as engaging as possible… The one-shot approach is inherently dynamic, textured and highly choreographed so it’s very entertaining.”

One-shots or good editing? They were really one shots, said Galloway-Davis. “It takes a very skilled director like Pete Henderson to pull this approach off well and build in comedy throughout so they deliver surprise and delight moments upon repeat viewings.”

Toughest shot: “The most challenging to shoot was ‘Brewery’ and to get the cans to ‘perform,’” said Galloway-Davis. “That perfect can crash spray moment only happened once. We tried to create that magic again but it was impossible to get everything to hit the way it did in that one take.”

David Brown