Astral goes viral (but not virtual) in billboard competition

Last year's 'My Toronto Is...' contest for art and design students was such a hit that the locals are being invited to get in on the action this time around.

This morning, courtesy of Astral Media Outdoor, 20 billboards sporting the complete-the-sentence query ‘My Toronto Is…’ went up in Canada’s largest city. The initiative is a much-expanded evolution of last year’s inaugural billboard competition of the same name, which invited students at the Ontario College of Art & Design in downtown Toronto to dream up inspirational images of life in T.O. The billboards will remain in place until mid-May, when the winning ad will be splashed on the same 20 billboards.

Toronto-based Astral, which is providing all the OOH space pro bono, will again award cash prizes to the winning student(s), to OCAD, and to a charity whose work is referenced in the winning billboard. But this time around, Astral is also asking Torontonians to vote online for their favourite out of the four finalists, as judged by a professional panel.

Last year’s winner was ‘Metropolitan Flavour,’ designed by Cara Jackson, Tara Wright and Erika Thompson. Its pro-diversity ice cream cone image sparked lively media and public response, which was part of what prompted Astral to expand the initiative, VP Val Meyer tells MiC. ‘It’s part of our corporate culture to support the places we’re doing business in. And we chose to work with OCAD because it’s a renowned art and design school that’s very involved with the community.’

Meyer adds that Astral decided to invite Torontonians to get in on the action this year as a way of not only raising the profile of the competition, but also ‘to give citizens some inspiration about the city they live in, with images of the ideal world the students would like Toronto to be.’