Tides Canada is fighting back against Conservative critics by releasing financial information in a detailed annual report and launching a new video explaining the nature of its work. The beautifully designed campaign was produced by Cause+Affect, a Vancouver-based consulting and design studio that curates the popular Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver events.
The centrepiece of the campaign is "Strange Bedfellows," a 90-second video explaining Tides Canada's "matchmaking" work of bringing diverse interests together to solve the country's problems. In the clip, a disheveled female lawyer (who vaguely resembles Kate Middleton) wakes up beside a bearded surfer-environmentalist and rushes out of his apartment. Just before she drives off, she texts the environmentalist that they should work together again, and he texts back, thanking Tides for bringing the two together.
The video has ruffled a few feathers among right-wing critics, but has been met with a generally positive response.
"Tides Canada approached us as they were familiar with some of our past work and were convinced that we could help them improve the general awareness of their organization outside of their immediate family and followers," Cause+Affect co-founder and creative director Steven Cox
told The Vancouver Observer.
Cox said that the intent was to "lay down a firm foundation and position Tides Canada as progressive, confident, honest and intelligent."
What was the concept behind the "Strange Bedfellows" video? The clip has created a stir online both among critics and supporters.
"We worked on a number of different concepts with Tides but always ended up coming back to their role as bridge builders of complex networks," Cox said. "Yes, the campaign is a bit edgy, but really it's more edgy due to the fact that it's coming from a national charity."
Noting that the response has been "overwhelmingly positive" so far, he said that even the negative criticism has helped to spread awareness, so in some part, the video's "edginess is what gives it legs."
Since January, Tides Canada has become a target of Conservative MPs and oil and gas industry proponents, who claim that the organization is using its charitable status to fund "political" activities such as opposition to the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline
. Few people (outside the environmental community) stood up for Tides at the time, Cox said, mainly due to a lack of public knowledge about the organization's work.
"General awareness of Tides Canada was low and therefore, a few determined attackers were able to gain a substantial amount of media attention and there was really nobody to retort it," he said.
The launch of this campaign, however, might be changing all that. For more information, see the website.