Organized retail theft costs Canadian businesses $4 billion a year, but is often perceived as harmless shoplifting. So DDB Canada created a new campaign for Toronto Crime Stoppers, called “It Costs Us All,” to raise public awareness of the realities of organized retail theft.
Sean Sportun, vice chair, Toronto Crime Stoppers explains, “Organized retail theft is often perceived as harmless shoplifting, when in fact, it’s a lucrative, criminal enterprise and part of the business plan for gangs funding other illegal activities.” So those stolen retail goods could go to funding guns, and drugs, which could wind up in the hands of Rob Ford. Their solution? “…asking the public to have their say for stiffer penalties and to contact Crime Stoppers to anonymously report suspected cases of organized retail theft,” says Sportun.
The campaign includes “flyers, wild postings, in-store posters, newspaper, radio and online advertising, which appear like conventional on-sale advertising, but instead of showing prices being discounted, the prices are marked-up on the merchandise shown.” Each of these approaches drives the consumer to the It Costs Us All website. It’s an interesting tactic, combating consumer indifference by showing consumers how they are “ultimately paying for the crimes of others,” says David Ross, ACD at DDB Toronto. The result is slightly less heavy-handed and melodramatic than your typical public service campaign, even if the “It Costs Us All” tagline is a tad on the serious side.
“It Costs Us All” was launched with the following corporate partners: BOMA Toronto, Building Technologies, FACECROOK, Interac Association, Loblaw Companies Limited, Mac’s Convenience Stores, Retail Council of Canada, Sobeys and TJX Canada.