How No Frills aims to keep up the momentum of ‘Haulers’

The retailer's marketer explains how an online video game will help it bring even more excitement to deal hunting.

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No Frills is continuing to use a cinematic creative approach to glamour up discount shopping, but it’s also adding a retro online game as part of its strategy to generate excitement and differentiation in grocery.

AislesofGlory_1The 8-bit style Aisles of Glory online game has users collecting things like produce, PC Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies and No Name Naturally Imperfect peppers, while also avoiding obstacles representing “frills” like limos, gold thrones and champagne towers. It also uses location data to customize the game, so players are running through the No Frills location closest to them.

Players can also earn 500 PC Optimum points a day by playing the game, available until the retailer gives away a total of 50 million points.

Parent company Loblaw launched a big push behind No Frills in 2017 to help it compete in a discount grocery space that is becoming more popular with Canadian consumers, as well as increasingly competitive. Initially zeroing in on in-store “frills,” which the store eschews as a major part of its brand positioning, the launch of last year’s “Haulers” campaign turned deal hunting into a point of pride and cultural currency, including by releasing a line of stylish, branded fashion and merchandise that allowed people to establish their status as a “hauler.”

Ashley McGill, director of marketing for No Frills, says besides being a new way for customers to earn PC Points for the company’s loyalty program, the video game is another way to engage with the idea behind “Haulers” and continue to make the deal-hunting mindset exciting.

“We strive to create excitement around the No Frills brand and their shopping experience,” says McGill. “Last year, we proved you can expect the unexpected from No Frills by launching branded gear and this year we are doing the same through the Aisles of Glory video game.”

A physical version of the video game, housed in an old school arcade cabinet, will also be making the rounds at experiential events across the country. McGill says doing experiential outside of its stores is unique in the grocery space and helps differentiate No Frills – last year’s campaign featured a gigantic version of the yellow No Frills shopping cart that travelled down the streets of several neighbourhoods last summer.

McGill says that last year’s “Haulers” campaign generated over three million views across YouTube and Facebook, which she partially attributes to a creative approach rarely seen in “traditional” grocery store marketing. In addition to the game, No Frills has launched new mass creative as part of the platform that continues that approach.

McGill says that, having established new messaging last year by “celebrating the art of hauling” through bold, high-impact creative, this year’s mass spot turns the focus to rituals and training “haulers” go through to prepare themselves to find the best deals once they get in store.

John St. led creative on the campaign, with 6 Degrees handling experiential, Dentsu on media and Proof leading PR.