Did you know that Canada Post is fully committed to carbon-neutral ground delivery? More than that in fact; the crown corporation is striving to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. It’s an important decision, one which - in a time of climate change and environmental crises - can make a big difference, especially considering just how big the country is, and how often people are getting items shipped and delivered to them.
To highlight this, Canada Post and creative agency The&Partnership Canada worked together on ‘For the Greener Good’ a new campaign highlighting these environmentally-friendly pursuits, and the company’s transparency regarding these goals… with ‘transparency’ being the operative word.
Directed by Circle Productions’ Shaunoh, the campaign is headlined by ‘Lighter on the Earth’, a 30-second spot demonstrating the low environmental impact of this new approach via floating transparent boxes travelling across Canadian landscapes. Accompanied by a voiceover explaining that Canada Post’s new commitment means more than 200 million packages a year will be travelling lighter, the film was shot entirely in Vancouver, while also achieving intentionally low carbon emissions in the process.
LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with The&Partnership Canada executive creative director Justin Roth, strategy director Erika Maginn, Canada Post director, brand strategy and advertising Jennifer Justin, manager, advertising Derek Welosky, and Shaunoh, to learn how this all came to life.
LBB> What was the brief, and what immediate ideas came to mind?
Jennifer> Over the past 24 months, Canada Post has been on a transformational journey, making significant commitments toward the environment, enhancing our services, supporting businesses of all sizes, and our employees - all in service of a stronger Canada – delivered.
We were about to launch our biggest proof point, and our brief was simple: prove to Canadians and Canadian businesses that we are serious about environmental sustainability, by making all of our ground shipping services carbon-neutral. But, to do that, we also needed to build a platform from which we could continue to deliver more environmental sustainability news, in order to house all the things we are doing to be friendlier to the planet. As such, ‘For the Greener Good’ was born.
As our strategic and creative agency of record, The&Partnership was a natural choice for Canada Post to achieve this vision, because it understands us and believes in what we are doing. In other words, we have shared values. The agency is an amazing partner, who is helping us on our journey and in reaching our destination.
Erika> Canadians are increasingly shopping and shipping according to their values, so Canada Post being able to offer carbon-neutral shipping from coast to coast for all ground shipments is big news, with a huge positive impact on the planet. So, we needed to share this news in a way that would get maximum attention and awareness!
Justin> From the start, it was important for us that we didn’t go down the expected routes. So, while we had lots of ideas straight away, we kept pushing ourselves to move past those first thoughts and find a new way to talk about sustainability.
LBB> Building on this, where did the idea of clear floating parcels come from, and what made it the right approach for the creative?
Justin> We wanted people to look at the environmental impact carbon-neutral shipping has, differently. And, that impact, in actuality, is little. It’s nearly invisible. In turn, that line of thinking led us to these ethereal boxes, which allowed us to visualise carbon-neutral shipping in a whole new way.
Jennifer> The floating boxes are a metaphor for how we can carry on servicing Canada, without making a footprint. The somewhat reflective (and at times translucent) boxes ‘float’ across our Canadian landscape, evoking a sense of modernity, but also creating pride in how we are taking the steps necessary to protect the environment. It’s simple, effective, and reminds us of the love and pride we have for this beautiful country.
LBB> The spot is directed by Circle Productions’ Shaunoh. What made him the right director for the job, and Shaunoh, why was this something you were interested in?
Justin> This is an initiative that will affect all Canadians, so it was important that we worked with a Canadian director. Beyond that, we needed someone who not only had the vision and craft to bring the story to life, but shared in our passion for preserving this beautiful land and making a greener, more sustainable future for everyone. We found it all with Shanouh and his team.
Shaunoh> I was really curious about the idea of creating a different kind of anthem for this campaign - one that not only stretched coast to coast, chasing these boxes, but that also explored the role Canada Post plays in our everyday lives. In essence: how could we keep the message intimate, while also stepping back to celebrate the country’s diverse landscapes?
LBB> Tell us about the writing process - did you already have locations in mind to showcase the parcels? Or did you figure it out after Shaunoh was on board?
Justin> A little bit of both! We knew from the outset that we wanted it to be a love letter (of sorts) to all of Canada, and the beautiful landscape we were trying to preserve. So, we took that to Shaunoh, and he quickly came back to us with amazing thoughts and builds on not only where to shoot, but ways to bring a shared humanity to the spot as well.
LBB> This led to you shooting in Vancouver! What was the experience like, and what made this the best choice for representing the country’s beauty?
Shaunoh> Vancouver has a lot of diverse spaces to offer, and the crew there is phenomenal. Having access to the mountains, farmland and the ocean - all in one day - was a real plus for us. Shooting there also gave us a great start to our story - one we were then able to top off with a splinter shoot on Vancouver Island, as well as other stock that I had shot across the country.
Justin> The experience? Cold, haha! In all seriousness, it was fantastic. Vancouver is a beautiful place, and it was inspiring to shoot in and around the city. It’s as much a character in the spot as the boxes themselves.
LBB> And how did you actually go about creating the clear boxes… and making them float? Was this all done in post?
Shaunoh> The boxes were created by Darren Achim and team at Alter Ego. But, we felt as though it was really important to establish the movement and personality of the boxes in camera, so we had a drone team fly a drone with tracking marks in most of the scenes to get this authenticity. It also captured all of the reflected angles that Darren and team could use to put on the box.
[BTS photo courtesy of Rob Anthill, Digital Anthill]
LBB> There are a number of unique shots, such as the owl and the rainbow, as well as everything from ground to sky footage. Were you specifically looking for all these scenes, or did they sort of just happen?
Shaunoh> It really was about working backwards from the location and story. I wanted to be intimate with the cast as we witnessed flashes of their everyday lives, paired with epic vistas that showed off Turtle Island. It required a lot of tools: handheld, gimbal, camera car, drone and a lot of dolly track.
As for the owl, his name is actually Ziggy, and he was part of the brief. There was a desire to show how wildlife interacted with the box, and I suggested an owl because they are wise, always watching, and it is a big deal to see one.
The rainbow is really just one of those shots that happen when you are on the right path. It is from a personal shoot up in Yukon on a pretty special day, and I am really happy that shot found a home!
LBB> The shoot’s carbon footprint was intentionally minimised. How did you achieve this?
Shaunoh> I have to give credit to the agency and client for this, as we all know a big part of the footprint is just the people. Each time you do a unit move, you are moving all these people and making more and more of an impact. So, it was decided that after we shot our main unit days, we would go down to a small crew (without agency and client) and carry on shooting. I think this was a really wise choice.
[BTS photo courtesy of Rob Anthill, Digital Anthill]
LBB> What challenges have you faced during this project? How did you overcome them?
Shaunoh> The biggest one was the weather. We were dodging snow through the entire main unit shoot, and eventually it hit for the subsequent splinter shoot. But, we all embraced it and I really think the film is better for it. For example, you almost never get fresh snow on the coast of Vancouver Island, but because we didn't push the shoot, we woke up to one of the most magical mornings, and one of those shots (the snowy bridge) made the cut. End of the day, I think that it also speaks to Canada - in all seasons.
Derek> Getting the message right was important… but also the need to strike the balance between the technicality of the new service and making it meaningful to Canadians. We knew that for this to be effective, we had to be laser-focused. So, we collectively agreed to let the beauty of the creative and the country tell the story with as few words as possible, and let the landing page get into the details around how it works.
[BTS photo courtesy of Rob Anthill, Digital Anthill]
LBB> How have people reacted to this campaign?
Justin> The reaction so far has been great, and we’re really humbled by it. We look forward to keeping this campaign going!
Derek> Early reactions to the campaign have been fantastic! Feedback internally and externally has been quite positive, with many applauding our efforts. This campaign has also generated a lot of healthy discussion around our all-encompassing sustainability platform and targets, which is exactly what we wanted.
Internally, the whole organisation feels such a sense of pride. It truly feels like history in the making. We topped up our media buy mid-flight to include a longer 60-second version to show in cinema. That’s how much we love it.
LBB> Tell us more about these sustainability targets. What are you hoping to achieve, beyond carbon-neutral shipping?
Jennifer> As one of Canada's biggest companies, we have a responsibility to deliver more for Canadians by showing up like never before. In fact, we are on a journey to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Aside from this, we aim to divert 90% of our total operational waste by 2030, and have a fully electric fleet of vehicles by 2040. We are also investing in renewable energy and greening our facilities to further reduce our operational emissions.
LBB> Is there anything you’d like to add?
Justin> Overall, we are so proud to have partnered with Canada Post in helping them launch such an important initiative. It’s not often you get to work on projects that completely align with the values of your agency, and this is a pretty special one.
Shaunoh> I just want to thank everyone involved. Everyone put their hearts into this, really saw the importance of not just this message, but this step for the brand, and worked really hard. I think you see this in the end product.
Jennifer> We truly are part of Canadians and Canadian business’ lives, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. Having to anticipate what Canadians need next from us is always something we hold near and dear to our hearts.
Derek> This is an incredible moment for us - a game-changer. We are so excited and proud to bring carbon-neutral shipping to the table. Canadians are at the heart of everything we do, and we are committed to delivering more for Canada. Expect to hear more from us this year as we continue our transformational journey!