OMAC Launches Ad Campaign

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

“How can the City tax an industry more than it earns?” is one of three messages being displayed on 139 vertical and horizontal poster and digital billboards across Toronto this week.

As of Nov. 24, they comprise a campaign launched by the Out-of-Home Marketing Association of Canada on behalf of its members who are fighting the possible adoption of a new sign by-law and billboard tax being presented at Toronto’s City Council meeting on Nov. 30/09 – details of which are opposed by the out-of-home industry and most of the advertising industry in general (see our latest update of Nov. 6).

The advertising creative, developed by agency Lowe Roche, is running on space provided by Astral Media Outdoor, CBS Outdoor, Pattison Outdoor and Outdoor Broadcast Network.

The ad campaign, in stark black and white, communicates the three statements to generate awareness of, and emphasize the implications the proposed tax will have on the outdoor advertising industry and its many dependent stakeholders in Toronto:

  • ‘How can the City tax an industry more than it earns?’
  • ‘The City’s billboard tax. Yet another tax we can’t afford.’
  • ‘Any tax affects you. Even one on billboards.’

The billboard advertisements also feature a Web site address,, where the public can learn more about the industry’s position on this issue.

“The new regulations and billboard tax will amount to an effective prohibition on the outdoor advertising industry, but what many people may not realize is that it will also impact other stakeholders including the advertising and marketing community, local charitable groups who benefit from free ad space, and small business owners who earn important rental income from billboard signs,” says Rosanne Caron, president of OMAC.

“We feel it is critical to communicate what is truly at stake if the new sign by-law and tax are passed into law.”

OMAC members are also trying to meet with individual councillors in a lobbying effort.

OMAC is requesting that City Council defer the sign by-law vote for one month to enable the City sign by-law project team to properly assess the impact of the proposed regulations and billboard tax and reach a workable solution for all stakeholders.

OMAC members represent 90% of the outdoor advertising revenue generated in the City of Toronto .

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