Survey reveals 65 per cent of Ontarians seeking more thought-provoking or
entertaining conversation around the "water cooler"

TVO aims to change the conversation

TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - Ontarians are tired of talking about the weather at the water cooler. New survey insights from TVO have gauged the pulse on "water cooler" conversations across the province, revealing that 65 per cent of Ontarians are looking for more thought-provoking or entertaining moments of small talk, with only three per cent characterizing their current "water cooler" conversations as always inspiring.

To support the public media organization's new awareness campaign, TVO joined in an Angus Reid Strategies poll to uncover Ontarians' attitudes and behaviours around "water cooler" conversations. The campaign, which is relying heavily upon viral and word-of-mouth elements, begins today with a two-day launch event that employs the iconic water cooler as a symbol of casual conversation to capture the attention of passers-by in high-traffic, downtown Toronto locations.

"TVO's new campaign is driven by our purpose to inform, inspire and empower all Ontarians to more fully engage with the world around them, so we are focusing on the water cooler, an icon of impromptu chit-chat, to demonstrate how TVO seeks to change the conversation through its programming," says Steve Rayment, TVO's Director of Marketing.

Half of Ontarians polled (50 per cent) indicated they are rarely or never inspired by small talk at the water cooler. This number is even higher among males (58 per cent).

A combined 65 per cent of Ontarians wish that at least some of their water cooler chit-chat was more thought-provoking or entertaining. Of those over 55 years of age, thought-provoking was the highest ranked ideal conversation quality (41 per cent), while the 18 to 34 year olds ranked entertaining as most important (37 per cent).

"We are encouraged by Ontarians' conversational aspirations and we want them to know that TVO aspires to provide experiences that are at once entertaining and thought-provoking while also being commercial-free, educational, independent, diverse and inclusive," says Rayment.

The survey questions uncovered some of Ontarians' most popular topics of typical "water cooler" conversation. Not surprisingly, 61 per cent indicated weather as a frequent topic, even though 50 per cent of Ontarians think we probably talk a little too much about the weather in moments of small talk. Weekend activities (63 per cent), family and kids (57 per cent) and television shows (50 per cent) are other popular topics that can be overheard at water coolers across the province.

TVO's "changing the conversation" campaign kicks off in Toronto today at the Atrium on Bay and travels to the Exchange Tower on Thursday, where passers-by will stumble upon a series of intriguing water coolers in unexpected places. They will be engaged through thought-provoking questions, inspired by TVO's fall program line-up.

The campaign will also feature media components that demonstrate both the content of TVO programs and the proactive nature of the brand in non-traditional spaces and in both conventional and alternative media channels. The conversation theme is expressed in various ways with some elements that focus on changing the conversations people are having about TVO and others that talk specifically about upcoming programming that inspire conversation. In effect through the fall season, TVO's campaign includes one 30-second television spot, GO Transit posters, elevator wraps in downtown Toronto and digital online media banners on news, arts and entertainment websites.

The Universe of Keith Haring, airing Nov. 5, depicts artist Keith Haring's unique, graphic style, which took him from the gritty streets of New York to pop art fame. TVO will aim to create compelling conversation around this program by bringing elements of Keith Haring's iconic work to life on the streets of Toronto.

The Empire of the Word, an epic four-part series (airing Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16), examines the history of literature and its future. TVO will engage consumers in a thought-provoking promotion that asks the question "are we evolving beyond the written word?"

"We're hoping that TVO's awareness campaign will inspire more than a few moments of discussion with the depth Ontarians want," says Rayment. "Because at TVO we're all about using our media toolkit to empower people to be more engaged in the issues that are shaping our society."

About the survey

From October 15 to October 19, 2009, Angus Reid Strategies conducted an online survey among 751 randomly selected Ontario adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 3.58%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About TVO

TVO is Ontario's public education media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens through educational media. For more information and a full program schedule, visit

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/


For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, contact: Liz Luzza, Lauren Grant, PraxisPR, (905) 949-8255 x 222, 227,,

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