The Client

CIRA – Canadian Internet Registration Authority

Like many other Canadians, we often take our access to and use of the internet for granted. Especially in the last few months, the internet has become more crucial than ever in allowing us to work together and be close to one another. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a cornerstone in the framework of Canada’s internet – what many people know as the organization behind the top level domain .CA is so much more: a not-for-profit dedicated to innovation, security, and community development for all of Canada.

Client’s Other Projects With Us – We are CIRA | Why Choose .CA

The Request

In addition to managing .CA domains, CIRA also offers enterprise-focused DNS security services: the CIRA DNS Firewall and a Cybersecurity Awareness Training program, typically bundled together as part of a business’ digital security strategy. As part of CIRA’s mission to deliver a trusted internet for all Canadians, the not-for-profit launched a new, free-to-use version of their DNS security for any individual or family living in Canada. The service essentially works by routing internet traffic through CIRA’s enterprise-grade DNS Servers (which offer enhanced threat detection and blocking) and acts as an invisible layer of security that requires no software to install and can increase both speed and privacy of internet use.

The campaign was split into four primary videos: three humourous ad units designed raise awareness of the service and one explainer video designed to live on the website and provide visitors more information about what Canadian Shield is, why it matters, and how to use it. The project included four additional videos: two cutdowns of existing ad units (designed to fit non-skippable bumper ads for YouTube), and two additional explainers to refresh existing videos for CIRA DNS Firewall and the Cybersecurity Awareness Training program in order to match the new style developed for Canadian Shield and maintain a consistent look and feel for video messaging across CIRA’s website.

Project Scope – 3 ad units, 3 explainer videos, 2 teaser ads
Pre-Production and Production Services – Concept development, scripting, storyboarding, live-action production
Format – Live-action and motion graphics

The Approach

The CIRA product marketing team had identified their target market as tech-savvy individuals – not just the type of people who care about the latest iPhone, but that member of your family or friend group that actually knows what a DNS is and is typically the first person you call when your computer no longer works the way it’s supposed to. Using specific marketing research, the CIRA team had identified specific engagement and interaction targets for the campaign, and our team worked very closely with theirs to ensure that the concepts we developed were aligned with their in-depth knowledge of the product and target market.

We developed a separate focus for each ad unit in order to increase the campaign’s chances of attracting a larger pool of users. Although the campaign needed to attract a very specific group of users, the concepts couldn’t alienate the general public and therefore had to be simple enough to grasp in the space of 15 or 6 seconds. We very quickly gravitated to the idea of personifying internet threats like malware and phishing and eventually expanded the concept to cover all three ad units, bringing prying eyes like multinational corporations and Internet Service Providers into the living rooms of the average Canadian. Weaving in CIRA’s tongue-in-cheek Canadiana brand was a real joy, as we got to play with lumberjacks, maple syrup, and other more subtle nods to longstanding Canadian household names.

The challenge in executing the explainer videos for each service was to strike a balance between an expansive list of technical information and a concise, digestible viewing experience. We adopted a more human approach to the final concept, mixing a delivery of each technical script by one on-camera actor (chosen to represent both CIRA and the target audience), with simple illustrations animated in the same space to better explain the subject matter and highlight key points. In this way, we were able to maximize the amount of information delivered in 60-90 seconds without losing viewer interest or distracting them with an abundance of imagery.

The Result

After two particularly fun days of shooting involving a grown man in child’s clothing, some creative lighting, and one very smashed robot vacuum, the ad units and explainer videos came together as you can see below. A big thank you to our very talented crew for making this happen!


Concepts – Joseph Truong, Dominic Llanos, Julien Cheron
Director – Dominic Llanos
Director of Photography – Julien Cheron
Production Manager – Vanessa Kammer
Gaffer – Santiago Trugeda
Live Sound Mixer – Jon Lebrun
Makeup – Natasha Kaycee
Actor (Explainer Videos) – Souleymane Haydara
Actors  (Ad Units) – Brian Stephenson, Usha Uppal, Nick Burden, Michaela Chung, Sandra Marine-Vieira, Nomin Bayasgalan, Djibril Kande, David Wen, Mohammed Alghassein, Jim Bickford, Christopher LeBlanc
Editor – Dominic Llanos
VFX – Skyler Michaels & Alex Healy
Animation (Explainer Videos) – Jamie Dean
Original Music & Sound Effects (Ad Units) – Hayden McGowan
Colorist – Joseph Truong