Make Small Business Less Hard

//  02.28.22


Ownr wants to help entrepreneurs ‘Make Small Business Easy Less Hard’.

A new ad campaign from The Garden positions Ownr as the go-to place for Canadian entrepreneurs to start and grow their business.

Ownr, an RBC Ventures company, knows that the unexpected often goes hand-in-hand with starting a small business, but the company is humorously showing Canadian entrepreneurs how it’s here to help with the important stuff in a new campaign.

The new “Make Small Business Easy Less Hard” brand platform was created by Toronto agency The Garden, which began working with Ownr last summer. It shows small business owners effortlessly managing the typical—and not so typical—challenges related to owning a small business, confident that Ownr is in their corner, helping them with everything outside of their expertise, from incorporation and registration, to legal paperwork that keeps a business compliant.

Canadians have increasingly come to embrace entrepreneurship during the pandemic, with Ownr reporting a 70% increase in new business registrations between 2019 and 2020, and a 102% increase in incorporations. And the pandemic hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm, with one in three entrepreneurs saying they are excited about their future.

“The effects of the pandemic made it scary to take risks and see opportunities clearly, but Canadian entrepreneurs saw things differently. They rose to the challenge, and overcame new obstacles in order to follow their dreams and take control of their lives financially,” says Ownr’s head of marketing, Zaeem Sarwar.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and through this pandemic, we’ve seen the spirit of ingenuity shine bright as ever.”

But owning a business also presents a host of challenges, particularly for first-time entrepreneurs. There is a huge learning curve that involves lots of red tape, legal jargon, mountains of paperwork, and financial hurdles. These can’t be avoided, but Ownr is committed to helping its customers find a better way through it and helping to make starting a business less daunting.

The new campaign is led by three spots, all of them filmed as a cinematic one-shot to add a layer of authenticity and immersion. The spots are also running as 15- and 6-second versions. 

They show a variety of small business owners taking on the unexpected in stride — from a contractor managing his overly-involved client and an unwelcome critter encounter; to a brewery owner watching as an employee sends a display of beer cans cascading across the floor; to an agency founder extinguishing the office printer that has gone up in flames.

“We wanted to create a campaign that demonstrated just how chaotic it can feel to own a small business,” said Francheska Galloway-Davis, Creative Director at The Garden. “We worked with the director and photographer to create highly choreographed, unique scenarios across video and print where our heroes are surrounded by chaos but confident because they know Ownr has their back.”

They end with the business owner saying how Ownr took a load off their shoulders by helping them with all of the other “fun” stuff they needed a hand with. “This is fine,” says the contractor after a crash of lightning suddenly causes a power outage on-site. 

The video ads are being supported by a series of out-of-home/TSA, digital and social ads that show an entrepreneur struggling to complete a task related to their business—such as giving a customer a haircut, or marking where to cut a board —because there is a literal pile of paperwork in the way. The digital and social ads highlight specific product lines using the copy “Make Small Business Easy Less Hard”, “Make Annual Return Filings Easy Less Taxing”, and “Make Paperwork Easy Less Work.”

Running in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, the campaign is targeting entrepreneurs on the verge of launching their new venture, encouraging them to take that leap knowing that Ownr can help tackle the “you don’t know what you don’t know” aspect of owning a business. The media, planned and placed by Initiative Media, includes video ads on connected TV, social and YouTube, radio, Spotify and out-of-home, starting Feb. 22.

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Campaign Title: Make Small Business Easy Less Hard”
Client: Ownr

CEO & Co-Founder of Ownr: Shadi McIsaac
Head of Marketing, Ownr at RBC Ventures: Zaeem Sarwar
Head of Marketing at RBC Ventures: Dawn Bednarski
Senior Growth Marketing Manager, Ownr at RBC Ventures: Nilson Junior

Agency: The Garden
Co-Founder/ Chief Creative Officer: Shane Ogilvie
Co-Founder/ Chief Strategy Officer: Shari Walczak
Creative Director/ Art Director: Francheska Galloway-Davis
Creative Director/ Writer: Lindsay Eady
Managing Director: Dic Dickerson
Strategy Director: Jenn Munoz
Business Lead: Amir Koia
Project Lead: Julia Zammit
Project Lead: Soraya Bendaba
Studio Director: Jamie Morren
Agency Producer: Melanie Lambertsen

Production Company: Someplace Nice
Director: Pete Henderson
Director of Photography: Stuart James Cameron
Executive Producer: Chilo Fletcher
Line Producer: Erik Wilson
Editor: Sheenah Jennings
Sound: Stephen Stepanic

Post Production: The Vanity
Online/VFX: Mike Medeiros
Producer: Katie Methot

Casting: Mann Casting

Print Production
Photographer: Clay Stang
Assistant: Al Quintero
Props stylist: Christine Roberts, Judy Inc
Wardrobe stylist: Serena Vaz, Judy Inc
Hair and Make-up: Aniko Tar, Judy Inc
Retouching: Marcelle Faucher

Media Agency: Initiative
VP, Client Advice & Management: Ishma Alexander-Huet
Director, Communications Design: Aziza Syed
Senior Planner, Communications Design: Mona Quelnat
Digital Director, Communications Design: Lara Senbanjo
Media Strategy Director: Stepahie Freeman
Media Buyer: Andrew Berkeley