Toronto’s street workers the latest ‘media’ in CFRB ambient campaign

Zig continues last summer's guerrilla execution of raising hot-button issues, but it's pushing new buttons this time.

Toronto radio station CFRB still wants to talk – and now it’s hiring prostitutes to do it. In a continuation of last summer’s guerrilla campaign, the Astral Media Radio affiliate is back raising a new slew of contentious topics like the legality of prostitution, the value of a flu shot and the longevity of mom and pop stores.

And that’s why prostitutes were spotted walking the snowy streets of Toronto’s red-light district (Jarvis between Gerrard and Carlton), holding up signs that ask: ‘Should prostitution be legal?’

Martin Beauvais, executive creative director of zig, which coordinated the stunts, tells MiC, ‘I would call that micro-media. You get to talk to 1,000, 5,000, maybe 10,000 people, but the spirit of the campaign is, we bring the topic while the topic is hot. We will be constantly on the lookout for things that Torontonians are talking about.’

The ultimate goal is to win the station more listeners, but Beauvais says the target is no specific age or class – just people who live in the GTA and have an interest in the topic.

In the next few weeks, zig will be posting signs in mom and pop stores with the message: ‘Can mom and pop survive downtown?’ They’ll also be handing out hand sanitizers in high-traffic areas with the message: ‘Does the flu shot really work?’ and postering public ashtrays, questioning smokers’ rights to health care.

There was no media buy or advertising for the campaign, said Beauvais: ‘[It's] guerrilla, you want to make it live through media and blogs,’ he says.

In case you were wondering, the street workers were paid, and they were asked to set their own wages.