Circle K puts a positive spin on being naughty

The convenience store chain's holiday giveaway was born out of increased customer segmentation work.
Circle K

Convenience store chain Circle K used the holidays as an opportunity to showcase its “generosity” during a giveaway, a result of increased customer segmentation work.

The Quebec-based banner (known as Couche-Tard in Quebec) worked with Havas Montreal on the effort, dubbed “Naughty or Nice,” which ran through the month of December. The national social campaign – the company’s first Canada-wide push – included four humorous videos promoting its holiday giveaway event. Each video shows customers engaging in “naughty” behaviour, such as double dipping at a holiday party or dropping a cupcake before shamelessly placing it back in its box.

Mélissa Lessard, national marketing director at Circle K, says the goal was to position the company as offering customers a sense of optimism and positivity – whether they are deserving or not.

“It was important to ensure that both the Circle K brand and Couche-Tard brand were equally well represented in the tone of voice and strategy,” she says. “We believe we did that very well with a funny yet relatable approach to the naughty or nice theme.”

Over the last year, Circle K did extensive customer segmentation work, enabling it to better segment its campaigns, Lessard says. The “Naughty or Nice” campaign was specifically created for the segment of customers who spend a lot of time on the road over the holidays, based on the insight that they are also busy and sometimes stressed and still want to indulge and treat themselves. The approach spoke to Circle K’s main customer segments, namely families, on-the-go customers, and hard-working customers, according to Lessard.

“Our mission remains to be the preferred brands for convenience and fuel in Canada. In an ever changing market, we aim to stay top of mind for customers when they need something on the go, a quick and delicious meal solution and fuel for their car or to keep or going through their day,” the marketing director says. “This campaign supports this by showing our customers that during the holiday season, which can be stressful and busy, we think about [them] by offering them a treat, no questions asked, naughty or nice.”

Media Experts led media on the “Naughty or Nice” campaign. On the creative side, Circle K’s Quebec and Atlantic business units have had a long relationship with Havas, the agency behind the retailer’s “As Close As A Neighbour” campaign last April. Lessard says the decision to have the agency lead the national campaign came from wanting to have a “coherent creative strategy across all channels, including our store visuals and game development.”

Circle K continues to work with other agencies, including Giants and Gentleman, which led a summer campaign to better position the convenience banner as a to-go solution for the unpredictability of everyday life.