Spotted! Citytv gives commuters a shot of Mercy

In a tongue-in-cheek nod to the flu shot shenanigans, Citytv promo peeps handed out Mercy inoculations today at Union Station in the form of syringe-shaped pens.

Commuters at Union Station yesterday morning would be forgiven for thinking Toronto’s medical community had collectively lost their minds, escaping their H1N1 clinics and taking to the streets with handfuls of eerie-looking syringes.

As it turns out, the white-coated doctor doppelgangers were actually a Citytv street team, and the syringes were pens, a stunt to promote the network’s latest hospital drama, Mercy. Filled with red liquid and featuring a functioning plunger, the pens were a pretty good ringer for the real thing.

MiC received a syringe on the way into the office yesterday, and a follow-up call to Koreen Ott, director, marketing and PR, Rogers Media Television, revealed that the stunt was originally planned as a fun distraction for people lining up at H1N1 clinics in Toronto. As the line ups became less of an issue, they decided to redirect the stunt and hit Union Station’s commuter crowds instead.

The syringe-pen stunt follows a September mini-campaign in which syringe-pen packages and lanyards were sent out to nurses at hospitals in Toronto and Vancouver, Ott said. Mercy‘s plot revolves around nursing staff, so the Rogers’ marketing team thought it would be a fun, unexpected way to engage the staff of real-life hospitals. The PR push was a hit, with nurses calling up the station and thanking them for the humourous gift.