“Cash for Guns” campaign returns to Toronto

Toronto Crime Stoppers successful awareness program hits the streets again

Toronto, October 23, 2007 – Toronto Crime Stoppers latest “Cash for Guns” fall awareness public service announcement (PSA) campaign hits Toronto streets this week. Created by DDB in Toronto, the out-of-home campaign aims to raise awareness and encourage more people to call the anonymous Toronto Crime Stoppers tips hotline at 222-TIPS with information about the location of an illegal handgun.

Motivating people with a monetary reward, Toronto Crime Stoppers will pay up to $500 cash for a tip leading to the seizure of an illegal or crime-related handgun.

“The campaign is all about gun violence prevention,” says Lorne Simon, chair of Toronto Crime Stoppers. “Helping to get illegal handguns off the streets and reducing gun-related violence in our neighbourhoods is what this program is all about. We’re asking that if anyone has first-hand knowledge of where an illegal or crime-related handgun could be found, to call our anonymous tip line. If we can seize just one of these guns that could potentially be used in a crime or to kill someone, then the campaign is a success.”

Developed by DDB Canada’s Toronto office, the thought-provoking out-of-home campaign contains a series of six posters with striking photographs of a Toronto playground, an urban river, an alleyway, parking lot, school hallway and the outside of an apartment building. Subtle quotation marks are superimposed deliberately into each image around a garbage can, sewer grate, car trunk, apartment window and school locker with an empty space in between them suggesting that with the help of an anonymous tip, police knew where to find the illegal handgun.

Each poster features the tagline, “Your tips help us find illegal handguns. Get up to $500 cash. Call 222-TIPS.”

The posters will be placed in schools, on billboards, and in washrooms throughout Toronto.The campaign aims to encourage people to come forward anonymously with any first-hand knowledge of where an illegal or crime-related handgun could be located, and educates the general public of the locations where guns are typically stashed so they can be more alert to their surroundings and know how to react in case they come across one.

“We recognized the biggest barrier to someone calling in a tip is anonymity,” says Andrew Simon, senior vice-president, creative director, DDB Canada, Toronto. “The use of the quotation marks allows us to visually demonstrate that Toronto Crime Stoppers is not concerned about the caller's identity, just the information they have.”

Andrew Simon adds: “While the success of most marketing campaigns is measured in terms of sales growth, we measure the effectiveness of the Cash for Guns campaign by the number of tips it generates for Toronto Crime Stoppers and the number of guns taken off the streets by the police. We know that for every illegal handgun seized as a result of the campaign, we may have prevented a gun-related crime or even saved a life.”

This year’s campaign follows up Toronto Crimes Stoppers highly successful and award-winning 2005 Cash for Guns campaign. In that campaign, over a two-month period in October and November, 164 tips were received and investigated, 22 illegal handguns were seized and Toronto Police made 30 arrests and laid 267 charges.

In order to make this year’s Cash for Guns campaign possible, DDB Canada donated its creative services and resources, and partnered with photographer Frank Hoedl as well as Astral Media and Zoom Media, who generously donated media space taking the campaign onto the streets of Toronto.

DDB Canada’s Toronto office is the agency of record (AOR) for Toronto Crime Stoppers and has been since 2005. DDB Canada is dedicated to supporting Toronto Crime Stoppers with high-profile PSA campaigns to increase public awareness about the organization and prevent gun-related crime in order to make Toronto a safer place.

About Toronto Crime Stoppers
Toronto Crime Stoppers (www.222tips.com) is a non-profit community program, which involves the public, the media, and the police in the fight against crime in our city. It encourages people to call the Crime Stoppers tip line (416-222-8477) if they have information, which will help solve a crime or lead to the capture of a criminal. The program combats fear and apathy by offering anonymity and cash rewards.

About DDB Canada
DDB Canada (www.ddbcanada.com) is the most creatively acclaimed, internationally recognized marketing communications agency in Canada. Ranked the #1 creative agency in Canada by Strategy magazine for nine years in a row, and among the top 15 best agencies in the world in The 2006 Gunn Report, DDB Canada is recognized for award-winning advertising that generates significant results for clients. A “total communications company,” DDB believes creativity is the strongest business tool. With offices in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal, DDB Canada was named one of the “Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada” in 2007 by the Queen’s University School of Business.