2016 Winners

SILVER: Game Changer
SILVER: Turnaround Strategy
SILVER: Niche Strategy

Liberal Party of Canada

Trudeau Election Campaign

Bensimon Byrne

Justin Trudeau was the third place candidate at the outset of the 2015 Canadian federal election, trailing behind in every poll. Voter intent had been slipping for a year while the ruling Conservative Party's campaign framed him as "Just Not Ready." When the writ was dropped there was no time for a conventional campaign of incremental gains. Trudeau had 78 days to change public perceptions and show that he was more than ready to lead as Canada's Prime Minister.

Research showed Canadians liked Trudeau's plan for fairness, but they also said he just wasn't ready to be Prime Minister (thanks to the Conservative media assault).

So Bensimon Byrne created a campaign communicating that "fairness" had to take a back seat to "readiness." The agency created communications that was atypical of political advertising and stand as a sharp counterpoint to the other candidates' approaches. The campaign didn't rely on the negative politics of division. Instead, it was positive in message and tone, and even included the words ("Just Not Ready) that were used by the Conservatives to criticize Trudeau. The spot saw Trudeau respond to Harper's attack directly, telling Canadians exactly what he wasn't ready for.

"This is what's happening to millions of Canadians," Trudeau said in a follow-up video, as we walked up a down escalator. With this visual metaphor, Trudeau explained Keynesian economic theory, the need to invest to kick-start the economy, and why he stood apart from his opponents. The video received more than three million views.

In the final days, Harper started saying that Trudeau would cut a popular tax-saving program for seniors (which was not true). So the agency enlisted 94-year-old former mayor, Hazel McCallion, to set the record straight in a humourous online spot. That video received more than four million organic views. It also turned around the seniors' vote with a massive 19-point swing in just one week.

The final piece of content was a rallying cry that conveyed positive and hopeful momentum. The word "Ready" was used in the spot to encapsulate the positive 78-day journey, with a nod to the negative attack ad that started it.

In the end, Trudeau won a 184-seat majority. It was the first time a third place leader rose to the Prime Minister's Office, and the largest ever seat gain from one election to the next in Canada, adding 150 seats to the Liberal's 34. It was also the first time that a Canadian party doubled its share of the popular vote, from 18.9% in 2011 to 39.5%.


Advertiser: The Liberal Party of Canada

Agency: Bensimon Byrne

CCO and copywriter: David Rosenberg

President and strategist: Jack Bensimon

Broadcast producer: Meghan Cheesbrough

Group account director: Jill Engelman

Project manager: Katelyn Porter

Media director: Thomas Shadoff

Media buyer: Alex Gillespie

Directors: John McDougall, David Rosenberg

Production company: Suneeva, Button Factory

EPs: Geoff Cornish, Michelle Pilling

Line Producers: Rita Popielak

Director of Photography: Stuart Campbell, Dylan McLeod, Sean Valentini, Fergus Lowry, Mark Peachy

Post-Production: Button Factory

Producer: Meghan Cheesbrough

Editor: Tim Pienta

Transfer and online facility: The Vanity, Alter Ego

Colourists: Andrew Exworth, Wade Odlum

Online Producer: Stephanie Pennington

Editor: Naveen Srivastava, Sean Cochrane

Audio house: Silent Joe

Audio post director and music supervisor: Jody Colero

Audio producer: Maggie Blouin-Pearl

Engineer: Vlad Nikolic

Principal advisor: Gerald Butts

National campaign director and chair: Katie Telford

Advertising director: Suzanne Cowan

Strategy and research: David Herle, The Gandalf Group

For submission inquiries, please contact Clare O'Brien at cobrien@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.