Bell ExpressVu staging Mission Impossible promo

Toronto's ferry dock was supposed to be swarmed by 'commandos' on Jet Skis, a helicopter and other action-packed antics this morning in a bid to boost HD subscriptions.

If the action-packed Bell ExpressVu Full HD Tour – which kicked off on Toronto’s waterfront today and will be repeated in 16 other Canadian cities until October – doesn’t increase awareness about the desirability of signing up for HD service, nothing will.

Bad weather curtailed some the Mission Impossible-style activities that are planned for each stop on the tour. A helicopter was to have hovered overhead, and Jet Ski commandos were to have roared up to Bell’s booth. That’s where, says Pat Button, Bell ExpressVu VP marketing, the event’s climax was the opening of the booth to reveal side-by-side demonstrations of ho-hum analogue reception and spiffy HD pix.

On the screens of promo partner Sony’s flat-panel TVs, Bell mascots Frank and Gordon cavorted in various costumes to reinforce taglines such as: ‘HDTV without ExpressVu is like Kirk without Spock’ and ‘HDTV without ExpressVu is like an action film without explosions.’

Created by Cossette Communications Toronto, which is also handling media buys, the amusing promo is part of an integrated marketing campaign that includes TV, radio, print and outdoor executions. It was prompted, says Button, by ‘a customer education gap. They’re buying HD TVs in droves but, according to a recent release from the Consumer Electronic Manufacturers Association, 6.5 million Canadians have HD televisions, but only about a million have signed up for HD service.’

He adds that about half of the consumers ExpressVu has surveyed mistakenly assume that owning an HD TV automatically results in HD reception. ‘So there’s a big education gap there, and that’s why we came up with the idea of doing an awareness tour.’