Thursday, March 19, 2009

Immigration isn’t easy, eh

March 19, 2009 | By Kristin Laird

Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), the professional regulatory body for immigration consultants, has launched a national multilingual marketing campaign warning prospective immigrants against immigration fraud.

John Ryan, chair and acting CEO of the group, said the effort from McDonnell Haynes Ltd. aims to protect immigrants coming to Canada by raising awareness about the dangers of corrupt immigration agents offering their services.

Clients of immigration consulting services need to be aware that their best protection lies in hiring a member of either the CSIC, a provincial bar, or the Chambre des notaires du Québec, because they’re the “only ones who can appear before the government on behalf of an immigrant who is paying for immigration service,” said Ryan.

“In some cases people are so desperate to be here... that they buy into some of these charlatan stories and they pay big money,” he said.

Launched Wednesday, the print ad features a spray can of “Instant Eh,” which sits in front of a large maple leaf with a headline that reads: “Immigrate the easy way with just one spray of Instant Eh!”

The body copy reads: “Immigration is not that easy. Beware illegal agents who will make you think it is. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

The print ad is a light-hearted approach to serious matter, said Ryan. “Immigration fraud is not a laughing matter. However, to catch people’s attention it was felt people would warm up to the concept of Instant Eh,” he said.

The ad directs readers to InstantEh.ca (CanadienInsantane.ca in French) which features a video that warns of the dangers of unscrupulous immigration representatives and a public service announcement by the CSIC on the dangers of hiring an unauthorized representative. The PSA is also available on YouTube.

The print ads are running in English, French, Cantonese, Korean, Filipino and Urdu in major English and ethnic newspapers across Canada.

The campaign wraps up May 20, with a second phase scheduled to launch shortly after. McDonnell Haynes Ltd. also handled the buy.

Originally published in Marketing Magazine, March 2009