Destination Canada Tweaks Northern Tropes to Lure Stressed-Out Americans

Promises they'll return home feeling renewed

Rethink's latest push for Destination Canada invites Americans to "stop curling up into a ball of sadness at home" and unwind by visiting their neighbor to the North.

“We employed Canadian tropes that Americans would recognize, with a bit of a wink and a nudge. We aren't above poking some fun at ourselves," agency CD Grace Cho tells Muse.

Indeed, maple trees, rustic log-houses and thick, rich syrup appear. But the tone feels fresh and light, almost disarming, a fine match for the message.

Yeah, syrup makes everything better. Dave Grohl would approve!

Even the campaign's theme-line plays like an in-joke between friends.

"'Maple Leave' is a twist on the idea of 'sick leave,' as we wanted to offer up Canada as a kind of stress-free break for Americans," explains Cam Spires, also a Rethink CD. "The brief challenged us to show audiences a destination with a unique blend of openness: open spaces, open hearts and open minds. That openness allows travelers to break free from a world that falls short on physical and emotional space. Canada as a destination offers the spaces for travelers to return home feeling renewed."

The work seeks to address Canada's uneven post-pandemic tourism recovery. Despite some gains, business continues to lag, particularly from international travelers.

“The U.S. is a key market as Canada's largest source of inbound travelers," notes client executive director of brand strategy Susan Dong. "American consumers are also reporting strong excitement for travel with 86 percent in a ready-to-travel state of mind and 56 percent feeling safe to do so."

"When they see the 'Maple Leave' spot," she says, "Americans' big takeaway should go beyond the idea that Canadians are just nice and polite. We demonstrate that the country stands for openness and inspiring more openness in the world."


Title: Maple Leave 
Client: Destination Canada 
CCO: Aaron Starkman
CSO: Sean McDonald
ECD: Morgan Tierney 
Creative Directors: Grace Cho, Cameron Spires, Jake Hope 
Art Director: Grace Cho, Liana Mascagni
Writer: Cameron Spires 
Group Strategy Director: Shereen Ladha
Senior Strategist: Julia Belois 
PR Lead: Praytell - Maria Opatz (Senior Director) / Jamie Simpson (Senior Vice President)
Integrated Producers: Zara Thomas

Director of Broadcast Production: Laura Rioux
Broadcast Producer: Zara Thomas, Gurbir Grewal

Production Company: Skin and Bones 
Executive Producer: Liane Thomas 
Line Producer: Matthew MacLennan 
Director: Matt Lenski
DoP: Kiel Milligan 

Editing Facility: Saints Editorial
Editor: Melanie Hider 
Assistant Editor: Jake Heise 
Partner/Executive Producer: Michelle Rich

Colour and Finishing Facility: Darling
Colourist: Kassi Bellamy
Colour Assistant: Jesse Hilton
Executive Producer: Morgan Campbell
VFX Artist: Faith Clark
Executive Producer: Morgan Campbell

Audio House: Wave Productions
Producer (Audio House): Craig Warrian
Creative Director (Audio House): Craig Warrian
Engineer: Craig Warrian
Sound Design: Craig Warrian

Account Services: 
Group Business Lead: Mitch McKamey
Account Director: Ida Lotfi
Account Manager: Isha Kanyal

Chief Marketing Officer: Gloria Loree
Executive Director, Brand Strategy: Susan Dong
Senior Manager, Global Owned Media: Adam Brownfield
Senior Director, Brand Communications: Nicolas M. Sirois
Executive Director, Global Market Planning & Implementation: Naomi Fisher 
Senior Director, Global Marketing: Claire Parrish
Marketing Manager, US: Nancy Steward
Marketing Specialist, US: Kayla Seib
Content Specialist: Jaemie Sures

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