Digital Video

Founded by the former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson, and her husband, public intellectual John Ralston Saul, the Institute of Canadian Citizenship is a national charity with a personal purpose - to foster greater inclusion and belonging for every newcomer that calls Canada home. Creative Business Company was approached to rebrand and market Canoo, the Institute's flagship app that helps unlock the best of Canada for newcomers.


Canada is the fastest growing country in the G7 - and most of that net population growth is entirely attributable to immigration. Critical to the success of this model is the integration of newcomers in Canada’s cultural and political life. To achieve this goal, the ICC created a program called Canoo - an app that gives new citizens to Canada free access to +1,400 outdoor, cultural and historic destinations across the country. Since launch, nearly half a million new citizens have become members.

In late 2021 - led by Daniel Bernhard, their ambitious new CEO -  the ICC developed a new vision for Canoo. First, the program expanded from just serving new citizens to include recently arrived permanent residents, broadening its total addressable market to nearly 2 million people. Second, the team added new features that helped newcomers connect with their local communities, find volunteer opportunities and even gain access to exclusive offers from Canada's top brands. Finally, the app itself was re-engineered from the bottom up to offer a more intuitive, bug-free user experience.

To signal these changes more boldly and broadly, the ICC approached Creative Business Company to reposition and redesign the Canoo brand and develop an innovative digital marketing campaign that would get the app into more people's hands.

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Canoo had a compelling value proposition but not enough people knew about it, and those who did had a somewhat transactional relationship with the brand. Responding to these challenges, we developed four key strategic principles that drove our approach.


Focus the message on the ‘what’ of the value proposition (free access to +1,400 destination) rather than the Institute's ‘why’ (inclusion and belonging).


Make Canoo feel like a special club. Clubs have members, and with membership comes privileges. Newcomers earned those privileges by choosing to come to Canada.


Invest in paid digital ads that target members earlier in their settlement journey (e.g. upon arrival) rather than only telling them about it at official government events after they’ve been in Canada for many years.


Use digital video (+30, 15 second videos) as the backbone of a full funnel precision digital campaign. Leverage partner brands and serve location specific ads to newcomers in each province.

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Visual identity

The 1950s and 60s saw a renaissance in Canadian design, fueled by a wave of immigration that brought new European design sensibilities to the country. It was during this 'golden age' that many of the symbols of Canada’s national identity were forged - the Maple leaf and the Canadian flag, Expo 67, Team Canada Hockey, CN Rail, and the 1976 Olympics.

Canada Modern

We challenged ourselves to explore how we could tap into this “best of Canada” design period, while making it more inclusive, modern and digitally relevant for today’s Canadians.

The Canoo line

Canoo evokes canoes, of course, which in turn evoke the uniquely Canadian history of how people once traveled through parts of Canada that were considered impassable. We took inspiration from this idea and created the Canoo line - a simple and powerful graphic element that guides the way and prompts experiences in motion in key places along the user journey.

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Iconic iconography

New icons were developed for the app to fit with the design aesthetic and make a more complete user experience.

Canoo into Canada

Working with key stakeholders, we designed some of the hero screens of the app, crafting an experience that felt both special and welcoming.

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We brought our new brand to life with our “You’re in” campaign, which positioned Canoo as a special club that got newcomers to the front of the line, every single time. Location specific messages were served to newcomers in different provinces, driving relevance and familiarity.

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"Creative Business Company has been a core part of Canoo’s relaunch team, helping us craft a fresh, modern, welcoming, and distinctly Canadian brand that is worthy of the remarkable newcomers who use it. Our team is focused on achieving 10x growth for Canoo, and our new brand gives us a strong and scalable platform from which to do so in style."
Daniel Bernhard
CEO, Institute for Canadian Citizenship
other work