Cheeky ads seek to attract shoppers back to neighbourhood stores

[attach]870[/attach]My neighbour saved my marriage.

Does that statement grab your attention? The [url=]Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas[/url] sure hopes so.

The slogan is part of a new campaign designed to promote local businesses – one that TABIA hopes will lift Toronto out of the recession.

A poster featuring that slogan and the image of a florist is one of nine punchy ads designed to make the reader think twice about where they spend their money.

Ads now appear across the city, including in subway stations and trains.

Joe Cirone, of Cirone’s Foods on Queen St. East, is proud to be involved in the campaign and stresses the importance of supporting local stores.

His image is featured under the “My Neighbour Sells Home Grown” poster.

“It’s not the same as it used to be,” says Cirone. “People used to go to the local grocer because they had a history, a relationship.

“But over the past few years that’s changed. Customers spend their money without thinking about how it will affect our economy, or the community.”

And that’s exactly what TABIA wants to change.

“We want consumers to shift how they think about business owners in their community and get invested in their success,” says John Kiru, TABIA’s executive director. “And the response so far has been great.”

New slogans are in the works for the next wave of posters but for now, the original nine – including three from The Beach – are local campaign highlights.

“It’s a positive thing,” says Cirone. “Will it get us out of the recession? Who knows?

“But it can’t hurt.”