BILD GTA: 100 Years of BILD

How the history of the Toronto Star helped a brand celebrate their 100th anniversary in the GTA

BILD GTA: 100 Years of BILD

How the history of the Toronto Star helped a brand celebrate their 100th anniversary in the GTA

The Goal

The Toronto Star’s longstanding client, BILD GTA (formerly called the Toronto Home Builders’ Association), asked our team to develop a program to celebrate their 100th anniversary in a big and impactful way that the public could enjoy. The idea was to illustrate the evolution of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and how home builders, land developers and commercial builders planned and formed our communities.


  • Brand awareness
  • Public appreciation of BILD’s involvement in city planning
  • Celebrate BILD’s longevity

The Strategy

The team delivered a turn-key media solution called Building by Decades that, in addition to a digital content hub and print series, included interactive audio segments and a custom digital timeline. The team solicited the reporting help of the Star’s renowned former architecture critic and urban issues columnist, Christopher Hume.

The series rolled out over 11 consecutive weeks, with a new segment introduced each Saturday on and in the Star as a special section. It started with features about the inception of the BILD GTA association in the 1920s, and explored the subsequent decades in the weeks that followed. In fact, the series was originally planned to run 10-weeks (one per decade) and extended to an additional week to capture what lies ahead in the future. The series celebrated the GTA’s rich history and highlighted the key people, buildings and events that shaped (and are shaping) our communities.

One of the Star’s competitive advantages was its access to archival photographs and its connection to key content creators and in-house expertise to develop and manage the entire concept end-to-end. Here’s what we executed:

  • Dedicated content hub on, home to all print articles, plus:
    • Audio clips to support and enhance storytelling in each section
    • Custom digital timeline (updated weekly as each new decade rolled out) designed to visualize key points and developments that charted the region’s growth over the past 100 years
  • 11 x 6-page print sections (distributed full run in Toronto on 11 consecutive Saturdays)
    • One of the sections actually swelled to 8-pages based on additional interest
    • QR codes on each print piece to connect print readers to digital content/hub
    • Custom illustrations
  • Social amplification designed to pull users towards the content
  • Native amplification to drive page views
  • Marketing promotion on and in the Toronto Star paper

The Results

Overall, the project exceeded benchmarks, marking significant success in terms of brand awareness. Top results include:

  • Total page views for the digital articles were nearly double the industry benchmark
  • Sponsored content on the Star’s Facebook account reached nearly 1 million people with a CTR of 7%
  • Print content reached over 1 million adults in the GTA who looked at real estate content, generating almost 9 million total impressions
  • Time spent per article was almost one minute longer than our benchmark

The Star team convened a reader panel to measure effectiveness of this program. Here are a few of the results:

  • Nearly 70% of Saturday Star print readers were aware of the BILD print section
  • 62% of readers said they were interested or very interested in the BILD content
  • 60% of the Star’s print audience had read the in-market BILD section, with a third looking at all four sections (note the survey was deployed at the 4-week mark of the campaign)

See the content that generated these outstanding results for BILD.
Hear the audio journey of Building by Decades.
Engage with the interactive timeline.


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