United Church launches virtual coffee house

WonderCafe.ca, a 'let's talk' website aimed at engaging Canadians 30-45, launches today with a boost from cheeky, made-you-look ads in national lifestyle magazines.

Today, the United Church of Canada launches what it’s touting as a first in Canada: WonderCafe, an interactive initiative designed to give Canadians aged 30-45 a place to explore moral and spiritual issues. Intended to evoke a friendly neighbourhood coffee house, it’s aimed at creating wide-ranging dialogue – prompted by discussion forums, guest columnists, online polls and member profiles, as well as regularly updated topical articles. The site, which will not include advertising, also offers the services of the EZ Answer Squirrel – a viral video ad designed ‘to make people pause, ponder and laugh out loud at a squirrel who proves there are no easy answers to life’s big questions.’

The church developed the WonderCafe.ca website and supporting print campaign in partnership with Toronto-based communications firm Smith Roberts + Co., which handled the creative and media buying, plus the website design.

The ads, which will appear in the December issues of Canadian Parent, Today’s Parent, Style at Home, Canadian House & Home, Harrowsmith Country Life, Canadian Home & Country, Gardening Life, Canadian Gardening, Canadian Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living and Chatelaine are gently provocative. For example, the first in the series of ads – meant to provoke discussion on the true meaning of Christmas – depicts Jesus sitting in a traditional Santa’s Village mall setting with a child perched on his knee and asks, ‘Would you still take your kids?’