toronto billboards

New billboards around Toronto have a confusing way of making you feel better

A series of billboards recently installed across Toronto is drawing more attention than your usual ad campaign, thanks to some cheeky slogans that people may find themselves a little confused about at first glance.

Located at five busy downtown intersections — College and Clinton streets, Queen St. W. and Augusta Ave., Dundas and Mavety streets, Queen and Noble streets, and Queen St. W. and Triller Ave. — the signs feature short phrases in simple serif font that are intended to immediately grab your attention.

Not only does their minimal aesthetic, pale pink background and succinctness meet this goal, but also their lovingly harsh opening words of "Listen, B*tch," which turn heads and thus also turn awareness to a mental health issue that is of particular concern at this time of year.

"We're hoping to raise awareness about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the best way we know how: with affirmations that keep it real," Daniela Angelucci, who co-founded Listen B*tch with fellow Toronto native and friend Michelle Osei-Bonsu, tells blogTO.

She adds that after catching people's eye right off the bat, the billboards tend to prompt a pleasantly positive reaction with their tough love, which is typical of the self-care and wellness brand.

Many passersby have reached out to thank the duo for the affirmations that have popped up in recent days, which include "Listen B*tch, this time of year isn't easy so go easy on yourself" and "Listen B*tch, it might get dark at 4 pm but you have all the light you need inside you."

"We’ve been overwhelmed by the love and positive feedback from Torontonians," Angelucci says. "And we've had quite a few people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder reach out to share how much they appreciate the campaign."

Though the founders openly admit that their approach might be considered a bit crass, they hope that they can elicit a smile and also a bit of uplifting inspiration, especially as we head into the colder months.

As Listen B*tch notes, it is estimated that SAD affects about 15 per cent of Canadians sometime in their life, and usually kicks in around November. So, a portion of the company's profits from this month will be going to CAMH.

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