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July 2014

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First District Launches National Marketing Campaign

More than 65,000 skilled IBEW members help keep the lights on and the economy moving forward in Canada — and the First District wants every Canadian to know.

A new national marketing campaign — "We're There for You" — highlights the highly-skilled Canadians who belong to the IBEW.

"We're showing the public how IBEW members support their communities right across this country," said First District Vice President Bill Daniels.

The campaign comes at a time when organized labour has come under increased attack from right-wing politicians, pushing anti-union legislation traditionally found south of the border.

One of the biggest obstacles to growing the Brotherhood is the lack of awareness by the public about who the IBEW is, said First District International Representative Mike LeBlanc.

"We needed some brand awareness," he said.

The marketing campaign has several components. One is a specialty website,, which introduces visitors to the kind of jobs IBEW members do every day, from wiring local hockey rinks to maintaining power stations and cable lines.

It also features local stories about IBEW members doing their part to help their community. Called "Local Heroes," it profiles members who give their time and effort to charity and national service. It also lets readers post their own stories recognizing good deeds.

"Our locals are doing great things in their communities, and we wanted a way to highlight it," said Kate Walsh, strategic coordinator for the First District's young worker outreach campaign, NextGen. "Rather than the picture painted by the right-wing about 'union bosses,' we wanted to get out the real story about the people who make up the IBEW."

The second part of the campaign is a 30-second television spot highlighting the wide range of sectors the IBEW works in.

"When disaster strikes or blackouts hit, we're there," says the spot's narrator. "When things break down or need repair, we're there."

It began airing nationally in April. So far it has been seen by 25 million Canadians on multiple cable networks and on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, one of the country's biggest programs.

The ad was funded in part from a donation from the Joint Electrical Promotion Plan, a joint labor-management program between the IBEW Construction Council of Ontario and the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario.

The First District is encouraging local unions to run the ad in their own media markets, something Fredericton Local 37 and Saint John Local 502 have already been doing in New Brunswick.

LeBlanc says one of the campaign's goals is to brand the IBEW as a Canadian institution. "We're an international union, but we've been in Canada for a very long time, and want fellow Canadians to know that we are an integral part of this country," he said.

Bridging the language gap, the First District also put up billboards in Quebec to reach Canada's French-speaking population. Print ads — including billboards and newspaper ads — were also created for local unions to advertise in their own communities.

Walsh says the feedback they've gotten from members is overwhelmingly positive.

"Through the website and social media, members have been telling us how proud the commercial makes them feel," she said. "We're also educating our members on who the IBEW is, because they keep telling us they didn't know we had members doing all those different kinds of jobs."

Go to to read more about the campaign, and to watch the 30-second commercial.


A new website and commercials spotlight IBEW members.