H&R Block (quietly) prepares us for tax season

Who: H&R Block, with Sid Lee for strategy and creative; The Salmon for production (Adam & Dave directing); Cult nation, TA2 and Darling VFX for post-production.

What: A new campaign for tax season using the brand’s longstanding platform, “Get What’s Yours.”

When & Where: The bilingual campaign launched today and runs to May 1 across TV, online video, radio, digital and social, as well as out-of-home.

Why: Well, it’s tax season and H&R Block is synonymous with taxes, so….

The campaign continues H&R Block’s longstanding approach of using humour to promote one of life’s most joyless and stressful tasks. It’s an approach that brought us one of our favourite lines (and line readings) a few years back: “It’s a bit of a slap in the teeth.”)

It also comes as the government has increased eligibility for certain benefits to help Canadians with the rising cost of living, meaning more people will qualify to get a refund.

“Currently, inflation is the highest it’s been in 40 years,” said H&R Block Canada’s VP of marketing, Hilary Zaharko. “We want people to know that our tax experts can help them get a better tax refund, no matter their situation. Which could mean a considerable amount—especially when money is feeling tight.”

How: This year’s campaign is anchored by two 15-second spots: “GovCon” and “Quiet Quitting.” Both ads play with topics that were much discussed in news and social media over the last year.

The first features a podcast starring two crypto enthusiasts discussing one man’s “huge refund” that H&R Block found for him, noting that he got paid in a currency called “GovCoin.” “It’s like crypto, but it’s issued and backed by the government,” he says as he hands over a Loonie to his co-host. “It’s got an NFT of a loon on it,” he responds.

“Quiet Quitting,” meanwhile, shows a woman taking the idea of quiet quitting literally after receiving her refund from H&R Block. She whispers to a colleague that she’s planning to quiet quit, before gently lowering her computer monitor to her desk. “I don’t think you know what quiet quitting is,” says her colleague, as the woman grabs a glass door with both hands as if to slam it, only to delicately close it. “Get an instant tax refund at H&R Block” says the whispered voiceover to close the spot.

And we quote:“H&R Block’s work has always been funny, lighthearted and put the offerings that separate them from their competition front and centre. This year’s work leverages social trends around money, employment and the need for real expertise during tax season.” — Matthew Fraracci, creative director, Sid Lee

Chris Powell