Gold B!G Award: Taxi and Canadian Tire bring it home

The brand's House of Innovation took Gold in this year's B!G Awards. Find out why.
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The challenge
Selling innovation requires innovation, and that was the approach Taxi took when its team developed the Canadian Tire House of Innovation. The idea itself came from an agency initiative rather than a response to a brief, and the concept quickly grew into one of Canadian Tire’s biggest commitments of the year.
Canadian Tire has worked closely with vendors to bring innovative products to its shelves, and the results – products like pressure washers, drills that turn corners and dashboard solar panels – have been showcased in a series of television ads, ultimately positioning Canadian Tire as an innovative retailer.
Recently, however, with intensified competition from Walmart and The Home Depot, Canadian Tire started to see innovation scores soften in its tracking research. Also, while the weekly flyer featured many innovative products, only a few could justify mass media support. Taxi needed to find a way to showcase the full range of products.

The insight
Taxi knew from research that most Canadian homeowners attempt do-it-yourself projects that would require Canadian Tire’s products. Yet a full 74% of consumers, including many heavy do-it-yourselfers, felt time, money and lack of knowledge prevented them from doing more themselves.
This insight became the foundation of the agency’s effort. Who better than Canadian Tire to teach Canadians how to do things around the house?  And if innovative products were used in the process, people would learn new, better and easier ways to complete those weekend DIY projects.
Given all the DIY resources that are already out there, Taxi’s approach needed to be fresh and much more relevant to Canadians to catch their attention. By addressing the DIY challenge in an unexpected way, the Taxi team believed they would garner more attention and strengthen the perception of Canadian Tire as an innovative retailer.

The B!G idea
Since the goal was to talk to homeowners, Taxi thought it would be a good idea to put Canadian Tire in homeowners’ shoes. That meant becoming a Canadian homeowner itself. It bought a house in the Toronto suburbs that, like many houses, needed a bit of work. The brand team literally moved in and began work on a long list of fixes, improvements and decorating upgrades. All the while, it filmed its efforts as a way to educate homeowners about how to take on typical home improvement projects.
Once the house was ready in June 2011, Taxi launched Houseofinnovation.ca, which showcased every project, and, most importantly, highlighted all the innovative products used to complete the work. Rather than watching a 30-second ad about Canadian Tire products, visitors to the website could experience an entire houseful of learning.
Once completely renovated, the house will be sold, with profits going to Jumpstart, Canadian Tire’s national charitable program.

The impact
Since the Canadian Tire House of Innovation had just launched (as part of the larger “Bring It On” brand campaign), only the first four weeks of results were available at the time of judging, but the number of unique visitors to the website had already surpassed 105,000. The average time spent on the site per visit was more than five minutes. And in a single 24-hour period, a YouTube mosaic expandable banner generated a remarkable 8,812,314 impressions and 39,389,550 interactions. There had also been more than 3.5 million views of the anthem video that explains the program and invites people back for future instalments.

What the judges said:

“This is a big idea. Well thought out and well executed. I love the fact that the store put themselves in their customers’ shoes.”
–Brett Channer, former CEO and ECD, Saatchi & Saatchi Canada

“This is a very surprising and fun solution that the consumer can completely relate to.”
–James Bateman, Karacters Design Group/DDB Canada

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So how’s it doing now?
By Jennifer Horn

By mid-August, the House of Innovation campaign was still going strong, with a monthly average of 80,000 Canadians visiting the site and over 93% of visitors spending over five minutes browsing the content, according to Sara Heller, strategic marketing manager, Canadian Tire.
Visitors were also encouraged to interact with the brand through Facebook and Twitter as well as on the site by posting comments and sharing videos, and Heller says that the kind of feedback the retailer has received, with consumers giving how-to advice by posting their own ideas, really speaks to what the campaign is all about.
“The posts on Facebook have generated some of our highest levels of community engagement to date,” she says. “We’ll continue to listen to our consumers and provide product ideas and solutions that they are looking for.”

Jump to:

B!G Awards intro

Silver: Sid Lee floats to success with Bota Bota

Bronze: BBDO & Shaw drive togetherness

The process

The jury