Catholic District School Board


The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCSB) wished to reach out to the ethnic community in their region and advertise that they offer free English and French language courses to people whose first language is a language other than English or French.

Chinese tend to have more English language challenges than do other ethnic communities. A significant 20% of Chinese Canadians cannot speak English or French at all. Research found that Chinese speaking immigrants had made “no significant progress” in their English fluency and comprehension seven years after their arrival in Canada. Chinese immigrant parents also face challenges in communicating with their childrens’ teachers at school.


Ethnicity’s strategic process concluded that consumers taking English or French language training have diverse motivations beyond just improving their language skills. They are looking to enhance their career prospects, to find employment, for passing their citizenship language test, to communicate more effectively to potential customers, or to keep up with their school-aged children who are becoming increasingly fluent in English or French.

Two ads were created to raise awareness and enthusiasm of the DPCSB’s language courses, and to arouse curiosity by asking our target audience to define which language would be most helpful to them in Canada other than the one they have learned from birth or the language of their ethnic group. Each ad raises the question: “What is your mother tongue?” The insight here is that the ability to speak better English or French is not merely a means of communication, but is a channel that connects people of different backgrounds. Knowing one’s mother tongue and a second language such as English or French, not only helps in communication, but widens people’s perspectives, makes them more tolerant and broad-minded, improves one’s creativity and thinking, and bridges the cultural barrier between the East and West.

Print advertising featured a Chinese female talent in Chinese ethnic community newspapers and cost efficient out-of-home transit shelters in close proximity to ethnic stores, assessment centres and welcome centres to reach the Chinese community wishing to speak better English. A Black Afro-Caribbean talent was used to reach other ethnicities wishing to learn French.


The campaign is only a few weeks old and it’s too early to know actual results. However, advertising is meant to interrupt the viewers thoughts and redirect them with purpose. To date we are learning that people are finding the ads to be “very interesting” and “thought provoking”. The ads “have stopping me in my tracks for a split second, just long enough to plant your message in my mind”.


The Dufferin-Peel Region including Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon is one of the most multicultural districts in Canada. Given the diversity of the region, the client was unable to address the unique needs of the market amongst both Catholics and non-Catholics of varying ethnicities. Enrolment in Dufferin-Peel Schools was declining while the ethnic population in the region continued to flourish.


Multicultural is Mainstream. Ethnicity proposed a single campaign that utilized a combination of both mainstream and multicultural touch points wrapped around imagery and messaging that was reflective and relevant to residents of the Dufferin-Peel region. The strategy included creative with the same look and feel throughout in both mass and ethnic media, featuring children of a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Executional elements included print (mainstream and ethnic), online ads and microsite, out-of-home (bus shelters, billboards, “election” signs), mall advertising, multilingual brochures, posters, grassroots (events) and community outreach.

The campaign is currently in market and consists of three phases. Phase 1 has recently been completed. Initial feedback from the client seems to be overwhelmingly positive.

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