By Cyndi Pyburn

There has never been a better time for brands to tap into Canadian values in a world gone mad.  2016 can certainly be characterized as catastrophic on a global basis.  A few sad highlights:

  • World Health Organization announces an outbreak of the Zika virus.
  • In Nice, France a terrorist drove a cargo truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day killing 86 and injuring 434 people. ISIL claims responsibility. A similar incident just occurred at the Christmas Market in Berlin …. the attack still under investigation as of Dec 20th.
  • North Korea launches a long-range rocket into space and later in the year, conducts its largest nuclear test. World leaders condemn the act calling it recklessness.
  • Three coordinated bombings in Brussels, Belgium kill at least 32 and injure at least 250 people. The Islamic State of Iraq claim responsibility.
  • As backlash from racial violence between police and African Americans in the US, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement is born.
  • The United Kingdom votes ‘yes’ in a referendum known as Brexit to leave the European Union
  • ISIL claims responsibility for attacking the airport in Istanbul killing 45 and injuring over 230 people.
  • The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro opens to worldwide publicity of corruption, doping, pollution, the Zika virus and an overspent budget.
  • A shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida kills 49 people and wounds 53.
  • International investigators conclude that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a missile from an area controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
  • Last but not least, ‘The Donald’ is voted in as the next President of the United States of America. Protests in major cities immediately breakout.

2016 could be considered the ‘poster child’ for violence and fear.  2016 said good-bye to instant gratification and replaced it with perpetual discontent.  2016 did not spark joy.  It sparked controversy.  Thoughts of good will were replaced by racial profiling.  In short, tolerance turned to hate.  Fear reigned.

All of this craziness has helped to galvanize Canadians to be proud of what we have.  We are globally known as peacekeepers.  We value politeness, harmony, good manners and democracy. We respect cultural differences.   We’re friendly.  We like to discuss the weather.  We love hockey.  We offer a safe harbour.  Our values drive us together not apart. In the eyes of Americans, we’re the neighbour whose kids don’t fight, whose schools provide quality education to all, whose citizens don’t pack weapons, whose cities are alive and vibrant.  While we are heavily taxed, we have greater personal wealth and quality of life.  We live ‘the true north strong and free’. 

In the latest edition of The Economist:  The World in 2017, editor, Daniel Franklin writes about Trump’s inward looking America, the tremors felt throughout Europe, and the ambitions of Putin and Xi Jinping. He also says some things will stand out as reassuringly enduring.  He cites Canada.  “Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, writes that his country is intent on ‘embracing the world’, remaining open to trade, new ideas and different cultures and people.  Amid the growing anti-globalist hubbub, that sounds almost revolutionary.”

Marketers, leverage this powerful Canadian pride.  There is a growing sense that our small nation of 36 million people, are doing it ‘right’.  While we don’t pound our chests and brag about it, there is a ‘knowingness’ that damn, it’s good to be Canadian.  Now is the time to celebrate this new found strength in your marketing endeavours in a world gone mad.