Communications Security Establishment Canada raises eyebrows at fake news


Who: Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), with Target for creative and strategy; Off Screen Romance and SP Studios Canada for production; Village Works for post production; and Cossette for media.

What: A new awareness campaign educating Canadians on the resources available to help them prevent the spread of online disinformation.

When & Where: Assets including online video and audio, digital display, and social media are in market now. The campaign runs to the end of March.

Why: Disinformation, or “fake news,” is more prevalent than ever thanks to social media, and the consequences are extensive– costing the global economy tens of billions of dollars every year, but also limiting the government’s effectiveness in providing Canadians with the programs and services they need.

To address Canadians in the simplest way possible, Target used familiar body language, the raised eyebrow, to illustrate the skepticism that people should feel when encountering false information online.

How: The 30-second spot features Canadians raising their eyebrows dramatically in time with the accompanying music, as they look at suspicious information on their electronic devices. A narrator says, “If it raises your eyebrow, it should raise questions. Check the facts before you share online” before a redirect to

“Raising an eyebrow is an instinctive response when confronted with something we’re unsure about and a universal symbol for expressing skepticism,” said Target CD TJ Arch in a release. “It’s basically the face’s version of a question mark – so it’s the perfect visual to sum up what we want people to do: question things they see online.”

(The raised eyebrow has actually proven a popular communications tactic over the years, utilized by brands as varied as Cadbury and McDonald’s.)

And we quote: “Disinformation is a complicated topic. But the message is actually quite simple, we want Canadians to be more skeptical of what they see online.” – TJ Arch, creative director, Target