Shotgun Fund bows shock & loathing tactics

In what's probably the most unusual Valentine's Day promo ever, Dentsu Canada is literally resorting to bathroom humour, plus a few other deliberately outrageous buzz-generating activities, to spark attention for a private equity firm's 'I Hate My Partner' initiative.

When good business partners go bad, things can get ugly. That’s the point being made in an anything-but-tasteful campaign launched yesterday by the Toronto-based Shotgun Fund, which provides merchant banking to small and medium-sized companies.

Created by Toronto-HQ’d Dentsu Canada, which also handled the media buys, the ‘I Hate My Partner’ campaign combines innovative street marketing, newspaper ads, media outreach and viral web elements that poke fun at the concept of a business marriage gone bad, but also leads business people to more serious consideration of how to deal with the situation.

Dentsu creative catalyst Glen Hunt tells MiC the campaign’s viral component is already a hit on YouTube – so much so that ROB-TV booked Shotgun’s partners to appear on an episode of Squeeze Play last evening. And that was prior to a day of mayhem tomorrow, when the campaign peaks by celebrating Valentine’s Day with a dark humour street effort orchestrated by Toronto’s C2E Consulting.

Street teams will hand out bouquets of dead roses and other posies, plus what Hunt calls ‘nasty Valentine’s cards,’ to passersby who express interest in passing them on to vexatious biz partners. But the hands-down most targeted component of the campaign will be the placing of about 200 branded urinal mats in washrooms in downtown Toronto accounting and law firms, and local watering holes for the power pack (see photo below). The ads feature the fund’s site address and a your-partner-goes-here target for the ultimate gesture of disdain.

Although he declined to cite details at this time, Hunt says newspaper ads and media outreach in Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary as well as T.O. will begin next week.

For the record, the client’s name has nothing to do with guns, but refers to the ‘shotgun clause’ resolution to business problems that allows one partner to buy out another to ensure a speedy parting of the ways.