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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Odes From The Code

Entered in Video


We had two very straightforward objectives for this effort:

1) Demonstrate the in-depth tax expertise that only H&R Block has

2) Get people to engage with a brand (H&R Block) and subject matter (taxes) they usually try to avoid

The two goals seem to be at odds with one another. Taxes are not a high-interest, high-involvement topic. Most people want to give them as little thought as possible. Yet, a detailed knowledge of the tax code is what sets H&R Block apart from other methods of tax preparation. We needed to find a way to make tax complexity interesting.

Strategy and Execution

Odes from the Code is a series of online videos that romance the U.S. Tax Code.

It's probably no surprise that the tax code can be a dense, redundant, and incomprehensible read. And because it needs to be so detailed and specific in addressing just about every tax-related topic there is, there are some remarkably obscure, complex and hilarious passages buried in its 4 million words: When does someone reach 70.5 years of age? What constitutes taxidermy? How do you define 'private foundation?' Shining a light on these complexities and over-complexities was a great way for us to demonstrate the in-depth knowledge that H&R Block has for any tax situation that may arise, regardless of how unique it may be.

By mining the U.S. Tax Code, the 'scripts' were basically written for us. To bring them to life in a captivating way, we found the perfect orator in George Takei. His gravitas and social media clout make him an authoritative voice who could give the language in the tax code the right amount of significance and romance. We paired Takei with real-life tax pro and H&R Block spokesperson, Richard Gartland, to dramatize a few of the more entertaining tax code excerpts.

From a creative standpoint, we knew Takei would be able to strike the right tone in delivering reads that were authoritative, but also had a comedic wink. But in addition to his on-screen performance, we also liked the built-in audience that comes with anything Mr. Takei does. He has a huge and passionate social media following that pays attention to just about everything he posts. In other words, George Takei gave us the benefit of media reach in addition to a stellar creative performance.

We introduced our dynamic duo to fans via a paid media buy, placing the video in a wide variety of engaging environments that encouraged social amplification. From high impact takeovers on Undertone, to social video on Facebook, to incentivized mobile video on Tapjoy, we aimed to expose our target audience to the series when they were most apt to engage. For efficiency, we used sophisticated targeting tactics, leveraging 3rd part data segments (focused on tax/finance), content and contextual targeting and behavioural targeting toward complex tax filers--homeowners, married with a child, etc. – to create a group of our most valuable prospects.


The Odes from the Code series proved to be extraordinarily successful, garnering an impressive amount of video views, likes, shares and comments.





Though not our primary objective, the videos were an efficient conversion driver as well. We drove ~ 1,400 retail appointments, surpassing our conversion goal by over 10%!

These metrics demonstrate how our content and implementation approach resonated with consumers. It seems we were able to find the ever-illusive balance between entertaining our audience, while also educating them. The content was compelling, prompting users to engage and share with their personal networks. It also served to establish a connection between H&R Block and tax expertise, as illustrated by our conversion metrics.


Video for Odes From The Code

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Fallon, H&R Block


Entry Credits