Posted 29th Nov, 2012

by Andrew Savchyn

by Landis Kine Donahue

I received an invitation AND ticket to the 10th CanToo Screening Fundraiser. I realize how lucky I am for attending the event and having a ticket for the auditorium screening as it sold out almost instantly. To be honest, I had no knowledge of this event and what it actually was. I also had no idea what Nabs was. Luckily, I was filled in quite quickly during the networking time period.

For those who were unable to attend this event and have the same questions streaming through your brains as I did, I’ll give you a little spiel.

CanToo is an annual screening of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity winners for Film Craft and Film. It is held as a fundraiser for the NABS charity. You can learn more about Cannes Lions and the winners of the festival at

NABS (National Advertising Benevolent Society) is the only charity in Canada that provides assistance to communications and related industry professionals who are in need due to illness, injury, unemployment or financial difficulties. NABS is completely funded by the industry and has contributed over $8 million to thousands of communicators in need. This one evening raised over $20,000. Amazing turnout! For more information about NABS, go to

Now, the fundraiser.

The unplowed transportation struggle to the Art Gallery made me question the fame that surrounded this event. But as I stomped the snow from my boots and I looked up to read the back wall, “Behind this lies my true desire for you”, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be.

I looked around to observe the networking portion of the evening: 50/50 tickets were sold at the entrance, the silent auction items were displayed in the middle, and just behind the item table was the main gathering area. Tables of appetizers, food delivered to you on trays, and of course a cash bar fixed the appetites and thirsts of everyone (I was told countless times that the mini burgers and the mini potato and goat cheese hors de vours were absolutely delicious).

After 7:00 pm, the screening began. Two hours of commercials. To those who would save their PVRs in a fire, this may not appeal as a great way to spend a Thursday evening. But to those of us who enjoy the art of a great commercial, this is the event for you.

We watched commercials from all around the world. These were nominated and awarded the title of being the best out of thousands of entries. An amazing commercial will leave an imprint in your mind whether it made you laugh out loud or grab a tissue.

For example, a hilarious commercial from New Zealand, “The Most Creative County in the World” stuck to my memory. This commercial proved how New Zealand is clearly the most creative country in by comparing what other countries use in advertising to what they are stuck using. They used some inappropriate language, so I’ll let you Google it.

And then there was one tear-inducing commercial I’m sure all attendees can’t forget – Thailand’s “Silence of Love” for Thai Life Insurance. A teenage daughter wishes for a better father because he’s a deaf mute. Her school life is filled with torment because of her father’s disabilities. She gives up on life and her father – on her birthday – finds her bleeding on her bedroom floor. She lives because her father gave blood. This commercial left the auditorium in silence. When the next commercial aired, the sniffles and inconspicuous tear wiping began. That was an astounding commercial.

It’s amazing to experience, in such a short time, such a powerful amount of emotion. That is how a commercial should be created.

I wish I knew about this fundraiser years earlier. This is an event I suggest to anyone who loves and appreciates the difficult process of creating a commercial worth putting the PVRremote down for. I will be in attendance every year after this entertaining experience. It’s definitely worth driving in a winter wonderland for.

I can’t think of a better way to end this than with Helene Leggatt’s memorable quote from the event, “You love it [the CanToo event] too because the best commercials really turn you on.”

If that sounds like you, keep your eyes on the ACE Event Page so you don’t miss next year’s event.

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