And a moose shall lead them . . . right to XM Canada

To try to make subscribers out of the gazillions of commuters who suffer iffy radio reception between Toronto and cottage country, the satellite radio service first went for their eyes.

Offbeat billboards were unveiled May 2 on Ontario’s Highway 11 north of Orillia and way north of Toronto. That’s a stretch the tens of thousands of cottage commuters dread because radio reception is so iffy. On the boards is as good a symbol of the wild north as any – the noble moose rendered life-size.

But rather than merely have the beast shill for XM Canada satellite radio, the lighthearted creative – from Toronto’s GJP Advertising – implicitly puts it to work for rival radio station Moose FM. ‘We wanted to address listener frustrations and let them know that there is another option in cottage country,’ says XM Canada president/COO Stephen Tapp. ‘Traditionally, Moose FM has owned the ear of the cottager in terms of radio and we believe the new billboards are a fun way to show that XM Canada is (a better) choice.’

As a sort of reverse kicker, the subtle moose shtick is not what was first seen by commuters. Instead, as a good, old-fashioned teaser, XM first covered the boards with tarps. Phone calls and emails flooded into XM with queries and guesses as to exactly what was hidden. Cows and deer were cited, and one odd soul even mused that it might be ‘a human sacrifice.’