Ah, the great American tradition of Black Friday, where packs of people fight over televisions, computers, clothes, and everything in between, marked at the lowest prices of the year. It brings many stores such a huge amount of business that Canadian retailers began adopting the practice not too long ago, and today it’s bigger than ever.
Some Toronto shoppers, however, will be seeing prices that are actually marked up today:
Ok, so these are actually mock ads, but they are appearing across the city. They’re from the advocacy group Toronto Crime Stoppers, and they’re meant to bring attention to organised retail theft.
And that’s not the kind of shoplifting where someone slides a DVD into their jacket — it’s the kind where crime rings organise large scale robberies to fund other illegal activities like weapons and drug distribution.
The Toronto Crime Stoppers say that up to $US4 billion in merchandise is stolen by these rings every year. It’s a big problem in the U.S., too, with the FBI claiming as much as $US30 billion stolen across the country.
And, the Crime Stoppers say, those stolen revenues ultimately get passed along to consumers who get charged higher prices to cover the costs of stolen goods.
So the crime stoppers decided to bring awareness to the issue this holiday season with the help of their agency, DDB Toronto. They are using these mock markup ads in print, online, and on radio across Toronto to inform shoppers of their finding that the average family pays over $US400 annually in hidden retail fees, meant to cover the price of theft.
Here’s a video outlining the campaign:
The Crime Stoppers and DDB have a history of creative campaigns, like a recent promotion involving claymation zombies to let kids know they shouldn’t be afraid to inform police of threats.
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