Taxi Canada Promo, Case study POTHOLE SEASON by Morin Public Relations, Taxi Montreal

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POTHOLE SEASON

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Industry Advertising agencies, Business equipment & services
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Canada
Agency Morin Public Relations
Agency Taxi Montreal
Executive Creative Director Dominique Trudeau
Creative Director Jean-François Houle
Released March 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Public Sector
Advertiser: TAXI
Product/Service: POTHOLE APP
Agency: TAXI CANADA
Agency: MORIN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Executive Creative Director: Dominique Trudeau (Taxi)
Creative Director: Jean-François Houle (Taxi)
Art Direction: Frederic Roux (Taxi)
Copywriting: Martin Charron (Taxi)
Copywriting: Jean-François Dasylva-Larue (Taxi)
Digital Account Director: Nada Debay (Taxi)
Agency Producer: Maxime Boivin (Taxi)
Agency Producer: Jacques Latreille (Taxi)
Video Editing: Minh Tran (Taxi)
Sound Editing: (Studio La Majeure)
Social Media: (Rock / Social)
Public Relations: (Morin Relations Publiques)
Media placement: STUNT - Cathedral Street, Montreal - 13/03/2012

Summary of the Campaign
Every spring in Canada, potholes make their appearance, damaging cars and putting drivers at risk. What’s more, the number of potholes — and the cost to repair them — just keeps going up, with municipalities struggling to deal effectively with the problem. Within that context, our goal was to tell drivers that a new iPhone application, 'Pothole Season', had come to the rescue. We chose Montréal, Canada’s pothole capital, right when journalists were actively seeking out the most damaged roads, as the place to offer up a gigantic pothole — a gigantic pothole with a car stuck in it, that is.

The stunt got the attention of the media immediately and drew their focus to the launch of the new iPhone app. Every media outlet in Greater Montréal covered the stunt, generating a total of 120 minutes of TV and radio airtime, and reaching a potential audience of 50m. The image of the car stuck in the pothole circulated widely in blogs and social media. The iPhone app climbed to first place in the Canadian App Store and, in less than 7 days, it was downloaded 10,000 times.

The Situation
Canada’s northern climate causes potholes to appear every spring during the thaw period. This blight hits the province of Québec particularly hard, damaging many vehicles and putting drivers in danger. Each year, the number of potholes and the cost to repair them goes up, with municipal authorities struggling to deal effectively with the problem.

The Goal
Our goal was to alert drivers and authorities to a new iPhone app that would help them get ready to face pothole season. We also wanted to fuel the media debate in Canada, particularly in Québec, about the alarming pothole situation.

The Strategy
We decided to focus our efforts on Canada’s pothole capital: Montréal. At the time of year when potholes make their appearance and journalists are actively seeking out the most damaged roads, we created a gigantic pothole so big that a car had literally fallen into it. The stunt got the attention of the media immediately and drew their focus to the launch of the new iPhone app, Pothole Season, which maps and automatically detects potholes in the road.

Execution
In the heart of downtown Montréal on one of the busiest streets during rush hour, we made it look like a car had fallen into a crater-like pothole of epic proportions. Drivers, passersby, journalists, and municipal authorities at the site were confounded by this highly realistic set-up. It was, in fact, an optical illusion — the car had been cut on an angle and was being held up by a metal bar hidden inside the tailpipe. To add to the realism, a security perimeter had been established, 2 police patrols were on guard, and a tow truck was standing by. On the yellow security tape, we printed the internet address, PotholeSeason.ca. On the website, people could learn more about the new iPhone app. At the end of the day, the special-effects pothole in the ground was gone faster than you could say, “Look out for that pothole!”

Documented Results
Greater Montréal’s media all rushed to the site to capture the images and to report on the stunt, generating a total of over 120 minutes of TV and radio airtime, and reaching a potential audience of 50 — not to mention the potential online audience of 1m via our Twitter and Facebook pages.

The picture of the car embedded in a giant pothole captured the city’s collective imagination. It was instantly circulated in social media and on more than 150 blogs and sites. It even garnered a place in our popular culture. Montréal’s main daily newspaper, with over 1.2m readers, featured it in an editorial cartoon, with our premier at the wheel of the damaged car.

The application topped the ranks of downloaded apps on the Canadian App Store in the utilities category. In under 7 days, it was downloaded 10,000 times, and over 7,000 potholes were reported to municipal authorities.