Telus launches new brand campaign with purpose

Who: Telus, with The&Partnership for strategy and creative, Cossette for media, Scouts Honour for production (Mark Zibert directing), with Outsider Editorial, Alter Ego, The Vanity, for post-production, and Ta2 for music.

What: “Let’s make…” a new masterbrand purpose campaign for the telco focused on health care, sustainable agriculture and the environment, rather than phone lines, internet and mobile services.

When & Where: The new platform launched on Monday (April 18) on TV, radio, OOH, digital and social content, with PR support. This first wave of the campaign runs for six weeks, with some “always-on” content running after that before a second wave picks up in the fall.

Why: This new work represents Telus’s full-throated declaration of its efforts to help society in important areas like sustainability, community support, more accessible (and connected) health care and agriculture. “We’re on a journey to reposition Telus as a global leading technology powerhouse that is answering some of the world’s most pressing social challenges,” said Lisa Mack, vice-president of brand marketing at Telus.

Telus says that purpose has been central to everything it has done for two decades. But it has started to change how it talks about that purpose in the past couple of years. “We want to make it unmissable to do business with Telus without understanding the good we’re doing for our communities,” said Mack.

It’s the doing well by doing good philosophy: “When a company has a strong purpose, people are four times more likely to continue doing business with and to trust the company, and almost five times more likely to recommend the company to their friends and family,” said Mack. “This means Canadians are increasingly choosing to do business with companies that share their values, and we want to make sure Canadians know we’re a company that’s truly powered by our purpose.”

Back up… Agriculture? Yes, in late 2020, the telco launched Telus Agriculture as a business unit dedicated to providing connected technology and other innovations meant to enhance efficiency and increase food production and yields.

But isn’t every brand talking purpose now? “There’s a huge rush at the moment towards purpose-driven advertising, but I think Telus has the advantage because this has been a genuine part of how they run the business for the last 20 years,” said Jack Shute, partner and general manager on the Telus account at The&Partnership. “What we’re doing now is we’re telling stories about things Telus is already doing… I think a lot of the purpose advertising out there from other brands talks about ‘What we’re going to do.’ But Telus has been at this for 20 years, so we’ve got an incredible number of stories about what they are doing and what they’ve already done.”

How: Last year, Telus made a subtle change to its longstanding brand tagline, from “The future is friendly,” to “Let’s make the future friendly.” Along with that, they’ve been inserting more of their purpose messaging into their product advertising (see examples below).

“If you look at any Telus product work from the last 18 months, you’ll see they’re really strong purpose messages woven into stories about a new handset or stories about a new TV service,” said Shute.

The anthemic “Let’s make” masterbrand spot that launched this week portrays the ways Telus has become, as Mack describes it, a “leader in social capitalism.” The ad rolls through various scenes showing the ways Telus is making health care more accessible, communities safer, helping farmers work their land, and reducing harm to the environment.

“Let’s make a difference today,” says a narrator to open the spot, and then explains—using rhyming couplets—what that means for Telus: ”Let’s make sure health care is right there for us all / health and wellbeing with just a call.”

No Telus animals: The spot opens and closes with a purple butterfly, but with such a distinct message, they needed a creative approach that was different from what people are accustomed to seeing from Telus.

“This is meant to really communicate all the incredible things that Telus does.. and the other big piece of it, was how do we really powerfully talk about and show what we mean by ‘Let’s make the future friendly’ because we hadn’t really done that,” said Hannah Fishman, The&Partnership’s chief creative officer for North America.

“To really tell the stories and to talk about the authenticity of what Telus is doing, it felt like we needed to use human beings to do that,” she said.

However, Mack also said the animals remain a part of the Telus creative toolkit. “And we will continue to use them, in addition to lifestyle, to tell our stories and differentiate Telus.”

And we quote: “The ‘Let’s Make’ campaign aims to communicate—and more importantly show—how we’re using our technology for good, serving as an important anchor point to our product campaigns as we continue to deepen the connection between product and purpose.”  — Lisa Mack, vice-president of brand marketing, Telus.


David Brown