Crafting change through creativity – the story behind The Residences at the CN Tower

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By Jeremy Gladstone
Gladstone Media

In the vibrant heart of Toronto, a city renowned for its dynamic real estate market and iconic skyline, our team at Gladstone Media recently undertook a campaign that blurred the lines between reality and satire, while casting a spotlight on a critical urban issue: The Toronto housing crisis. “290 Bremner Blvd. – The residences of the CN Tower,” initially conceived as an April Fools’ prank, evolved into a compelling narrative to foster dialogue on the availability of quality, affordable housing in our beloved city.

Vibrant brainstorming session

The inception of this idea came during a vibrant brainstorming session. Ivan Krivonosov, our gifted cinematographer, pitched a concept that was both outlandish and engaging. The team’s enthusiasm was palpable – we knew we had the seed of something that could be both amusing and profound. Recognizing the potential impact, we quickly assembled a coalition of top-tier talent, drawing on long-standing partnerships with industry juggernauts, such as Joseph Feldman from Camrost, Natasha Koifman and her team at NKPR, Anwar Mekhayech at The Design Agency, and Kimberly Mardell from PSR. The final product could not have been completed without our dear friend Jose Uribe and the entire team at Pureblink.

Our campaign unfolded across multiple layers, anchored by a mockumentary that showcased team testimonials, each detailing this iconic project through the lens of our unique disciplines. This approach allowed us to present a comprehensive view of the project, emphasizing the diverse expertise and creative angles contributed by each team member.

We subtly introduced the idea that the story might be fabricated by embedding numerous Easter eggs within the narrative. These hidden clues were designed to spark curiosity and encourage viewers to question the authenticity of the tale being told.

Uribe and his team skillfully created photorealistic fly-throughs of opulent suites, adding an element of grandeur. Additionally, the Gladstone team visited the CN Tower to capture authentic scenery, which was then cleverly integrated into the renderings. Moreover, staged visuals at the CN Tower, including a counterfeit development sign, enhanced the illusion of legitimacy. The campaign was rounded off with a promotional commercial, boasting a catchy tune and striking visuals of the fictional highrise paradise.

Engaging the community

However, the core of our campaign was digital engagement – driving traffic to a dedicated landing page that detailed this fictitious development, capturing the imagination and curiosity of viewers, and encouraging them to learn more through registration. This was not just about creating a viral sensation; it was about engaging the community on the serious issue of housing accessibility.

When we unveiled the true nature of the campaign on April 2, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Our follow-up video, featuring heartfelt testimonials from stakeholders, clarified the spoof and addressed potential public concerns about the misuse of our national landmark. The campaign’s reception exceeded our expectations, drawing significant attention and sparking conversations about housing in Toronto.

This endeavor was more than just a promotional stunt; it was a strategic use of our storytelling expertise to spotlight and tackle a pressing urban issue. The campaign’s success was evident in its engagement metrics, with a million views between both videos across all social channels in the span of the week. These metrics continue to climb daily as the content still attracts significant attention. In response, Camrost Feldcorp committed to donate $1 for every registration, resulting in a generous $20,000 contribution to the St. Felix Centre. This donation aids those impacted by housing insecurity, further extending the campaign’s positive impact.

The power of media

At Gladstone Media, we believe in the power of media to not only entertain but also enlighten. With “290 Bremner – The residences of the CN Tower,” we aimed to craft a narrative that was both engaging and educational, utilizing our platform to advocate for change in the realm of urban housing. This project stands as a testament to the influence creative campaigns can wield in shaping public discourse, proving that even the most fantastical ideas can ignite meaningful action and inspire community solidarity.

As we reflect on the success of this campaign, we are reminded of the profound impact creativity can have in addressing societal challenges. It is our hope that this initiative not only raises awareness but also encourages other creatives to leverage their talents for social good, fostering a future where innovation and advocacy go hand in hand in the quest for a better, more equitable society.

Jeremy Gladstone
Jeremy Gladstone

Jeremy Gladstone is Chief Creative Officer of Gladstone Media. gladstonemedia.ca.