Dr. Cabbie


The Canadian-made movie Dr. Cabbie was to be released across the country in mid-September 2014. Our goal was to help get the film as much exposure as possible and tell as many people in the South Asian community as possible and help fill theatres.

Dr. Cabbie weaves a tale by pairing Hollywood names with South Asian actors in a plot exploring the immigrant experience. In theatres mid-September 2014, Dr.Cabbie is a film about an Indian Immigrant who winds up driving a taxi in Toronto because his medical degree isn’t recognized here. The film features Kunal Nayyar (Big Bang Theory), Vinay Virmani as Dr. Cabbie, Adrienne Palacki and Isabelle Kaif.

It’s also the tale of two marketing campaigns: one promoting the film to a mainstream audience; and another targeting the South Asian community.
That means while distributor Entertainment One goes the traditional route, placing the film’s trailer on Hollywood movies such as 22 Jump Street and branding taxis, Ethnicity Multicultural’s objective was to promote the film to South Asian media and events that would help to get the word out to ethnic audiences.


The marketing budget was split evenly between both mainstream and ethnic entities on the assumption that the comedic take on the hardship of a foreign-trained professional will also resonate as a universal fish-out-of-water story with non-immigrants.

Ethnicity focused on its core demographic, South Asians who are very avid moviegoers. Most of Canada’s visible minorities (95.9%) live in census metropolitan areas (CMAs), so our focus was on leading cities which included the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where over one-half (53%) of South Asians live, Greater Vancouver Area where over 16% of South Asians live, Calgary (7.5%), Edmonton )7.2%) and Ottawa (3.8%).

Media for the launch of the film included Ethnic newspapers and magazines, TV and Radio, Geo-targeted Out-of-Home, Mall Activations, Events and ethnic online ads. Strategically, promotional efforts were centred around the film’s key themes: “South Asian as Hero” – South Asians feel good when they are represented positively in the mainstream; the “The Immigrant Journey” which is a common struggle for all newcomers including South Asians and crosses generations; “The Love Story” given that South Asians are emotional and have always enjoyed a feel-good romantic love story, and “A Film About Family” – not a family film but an endearing story about families which is a theme that resonates with everyone in ethnic communities.

Ethnicity did not just focus on South Asians in general, but focused on bulls-eye targets including: Bollywood buffs who are attracted to star power, music and glamour, Canadian Desi (immigrants from the south-Asian countries, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh) , new immigrants and the cabbie community which are a tight-community and predominantly South Asian in major cities.

Tactics used by Ethnicity included: strategically placing paid media buys which helped to grease the wheel for access to guest hosting on TV shows, contesting (take a Selfie with Dr. Cabbie), behind the scenes specials, and interviews with all the key stars and producers of the film.


The buzz from our social media reports and the reactions that we measure to the trailer, the South Asian Community are really taking notice of it – proof that globalization and representation of diversity is a strong magnet for movie goers across the country.

“Dr. Cabbie” has taken the Canada box office by storm. The film was released in Canada on 19 September 2014 on just 55 screens. The film has shattered both Bollywood and Hollywood films record in Canada, minting $350,452 on its opening day. The distributors in Hollywood have called the film a “Tsunami”. “Dr. Cabbie” became the second highest grossing film in Canada with the best opening weekend ever for any Canadian or Indian production. The film will now be traveling

Also see the Grassroots.

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