Canadian Tire mixes emotion and humour for Christmas

November 14, 2012  |  Rebecca Harris  |  Comments

Canadian Tire wants to pull on people’s heartstrings… before they sell them light strings.

The retailer launched a new 60-second Christmas spot, replacing one that ran for the past two years. That ad showed an older woman looking wistfully out the window and telling her daughter, “you kids used to love decorating that tree.” The two go out to run errands, and when they return in the dark, all the trees leading up to the house are lit up.

The idea was “let’s connect with customers on a more emotive level at the beginning of the season before we get into the hard product sell. Let’s get back to what Christmas is all about,” said Susan O’Brien, associate vice-president, strategic marketing at Canadian Tire. “So with that as our inspiration, we wanted to recreate another very emotive moment for Canadians.”

The new brand spot, created by Taxi, is about a young boy whose family has moved right before Christmas. His worry that Santa won’t find him is soon put to rest with a little help from Canadian Tire.

“It’s really about recreating the feeling that you’d almost do anything for your kids at Christmas to make it special for them,” said O’Brien. The ad, called “Runway,” launched Nov. 1 and will run until mid-December.

When it comes to the hard sell, Canadian Tire is promoting its decorating and entertaining product assortment. One ad currently on air showcases Cuisinart, while an upcoming spot focuses on Kitchenaid.

On top of that, a campaign will focus on unique gifts available at Canadian Tire. “There are a lot of [retailers] competing in the obvious categories, like electronics and toys and apparel. We wanted to position our assortment as a more unexpected gift idea,” said O’Brien.

The humorous campaign features spokesperson “Paul,” who first appeared in Canadian Tire ads in September when the retailer unveiled its new tagline, “Canada’s store.”

“We’re leveraging him for our product advertising,” said O’Brien. “So you wouldn’t see him in an image-type ad like ‘Runway’ when we’re trying to be a little more serious.”

The Christmas campaign also includes radio spots by Taxi; a 12-page decorating and entertaining insert running in national women’s magazines, also created by Taxi; and a digital component by Tribal DDB, which includes an “unexpected gift selector on Media buying was handled by MediaCom.

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