Mediaedge:cia: Honourable mention case study: Sears

It can be tough to stand out in the advertising blizzard that envelopes Christmas.

It can be tough to stand out in the advertising blizzard that envelopes Christmas.

But last year, Toronto-based Mediaedge:cia cleverly gave big client Sears a starring role in the first-ever yuletide episode of the widely popular homegrown CTV comedy series, Corner Gas.

Goal/strategy

Sears wanted its Wish Book to break through the Christmas clutter. ‘Corner Gas viewers were more likely to be catalogue shoppers,’ explains Bruce Neve, SVP/MD Mediaedge:cia of the agency’s research findings. It made the show a perfect media vehicle, but they needed more than standard product placement. ‘Passive product placement has little value,’ he says. ‘When you do content or script integration where it actually contributes to the story, then it’s a really strong channel,’ he says.

Execution

When approached, Corner Gas star and writer Brent Butt apparently had little reservation about incorporating the Wish Book into the show’s storyline. ‘They were thrilled; they thought that Sears was the perfect match for the program,’ says Neve.

At the beginning of the episode, for roughly three minutes, four of the show’s main characters reminisced about using the catalogue to shop when they were kids. As well, Sears sponsored the program with billboards, and CTV included the retailer in all the pre-promotion on TV, newspaper and radio for a multi-channel campaign. There were also three other episodes that included product integration.

Results

This effort was part of Sears’ mutli-channel Christmas campaign, which Neve says resulted in strong sales for the season. In terms of the show, ‘that particular episode got the highest audience ever for the program. It was the number one show of the week,’ he says with about two million Canadians viewing the episode.