Can You Deduct Girl Scout Cookies? Thomson Reuters Answers Quirky Tax Questions in Facebook Campaign

Humorous Video Campaign Is Aimed at Tax Professionals

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Ever wonder if Girl Scout cookies are tax deductible? What about dancing lessons as a medical expense? Thomson Reuters is answering these questions and more in a Facebook campaign called "Quickfinder Quirky Tax Questions."

The campaign, developed by PJA Advertising and Marketing and Thomson Reuters' internal creative team, is designed to raise awareness of Quickfinder, a tax reference guide in Thomson Reuters' Checkpoint line, among tax professionals.

"The nature of the Quickfinder product is a little quirky, with cartoons weaved into the tax guidance to break up what is traditionally a dry tax topic with humor," said Melissa Rothchild, VP-marketing at Thomson Reuters. "We wanted to create a social media campaign that would reflect this humor and relate to the persona of the tax professional -- showing the broad range of questions that tax professionals get from clients on a daily basis."

The campaign is an extension of a broader campaign Thomson Reuters launched last year, including print, online, trade shows and social media. That campaign was developed in-house.

"We wanted to grow the business, and also tie it into our e-commerce goals," Ms. Rothchild said.

For the new video campaign, Thomson Reuters tested several social-media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

"We found Facebook lended itself the best to a humor-based b-to-b campaign," Ms. Rothchild said.

The video campaign began with two videos on Thomson Reuters' Facebook page, featuring a tax professional named Peter and an animated Quickfinder tax guide, who answers tax questions Peter gets from clients.

In the first video, called "The Dynamic Tax Duo Answer: Are Good Reported as Gross Income?" a client wants to know whether goods traded for services (in this case, beer for remodeling) have to be reported.

In the second video, called "The Dynamic Tax Duo Answer: What's Deductible?," Quickfinder answers questions about whether certain "self improvements" -- like dance lessons recommended by a doctor -- are tax deductible.

So far the videos have gotten close to 50,000 views, and Thomson Reuters plans to roll out six more.

"The scenarios they cover are so relatable to tax professionals, and we released it during the height of tax season, which made for comic relief," Ms. Rothchild said.