AOY Finalist: Taxi ranks high

Last year's Gold winner Taxi placed as a finalist this year. The indie shop - now 285 strong - opened an Amsterdam office and welcomed in over two dozen new pieces of business at home while churning out solid work for long-time clients like Pfizer and Canadian Tire. Recession? What recession?

Last year’s Gold winner Taxi placed as a finalist this year. The indie shop – now 285 strong – opened an Amsterdam office and welcomed in over two dozen new pieces of business at home while churning out solid work for long-time clients like Pfizer and Canadian Tire. Recession? What recession?


Canadian Tire celebrates the everyday

Canadian Tire is more than just a retail store – it’s a cultural institution known for its long-running advertising campaigns. In the past, product-level communication was the focus, but Canadian Tire wanted to communicate a higher brand message about the unique role it plays in the lives of families.

A tough brand to pigeonhole, Canadian Tire carries products for every imaginable aspect of day-to-day life. Taxi needed to find a way to put that unusual range of products into a relevant context. ‘For Days Like Today’ united this diverse product assortment under a single idea: the role Canadian Tire plays in the adventures of family life. Some days are fun and relaxing, others are a bit demanding or mundane, but embracing that adventure is key to running a household successfully.


Being one of the biggest marketers in the country meant the idea had to expand to every touchpoint in the marketing mix. The mass media campaign launched with a combination of television, OOH and online, and included Canadian Tire’s weekly flyer, website and store environment.

‘For Days Like Today’ achieved the same success as the previous record-setting campaign ‘Aisle Signs’ by the end of its first quarter, and continues to gain momentum. And despite the challenging economy, Canadian Tire is one of the few retailers in the country that has held its own in sales. This spring it had an impressive thirteen-week run on the TSX with a 28% increase in share price.

Dairy Farmers of Canada starts the cheese rolling

DFC asked Taxi to develop an idea that would bring cheese consumption in B.C. in line with the rest of the country. The solution was based on a local consumer insight and an imported bit of madness.

Taxi found that moms – the primary target – consistently managed to get their kids outdoors more than their counterparts east of the Rockies. This inspired Taxi to take cheese out of the kitchen.


The first annual Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival, the first of its kind ever held in North America, featured thousands of spectators watching hundreds of slightly crazed participants tossing themselves down Whistler Mountain after a speeding 11-pound wheel of cheese.

Starting with a unique identity and logo, the campaign came to life with regionally targeted cinema, TV, radio, print, transit, posters, restobar ads, web banners, street teams and a retail pre-promotion. Everything drove consumers to the event microsite, where they could see cheese rolling videos and sign up to participate. Other family-friendly activities were peppered in to get everyone involved.

More than 12,000 people visited the site in five weeks. The event crowds and participants were more than double expectations. The festival generated one cracked ankle, a few bumps and bruises and an awful lot of cheese sales. Following the event, sales in B.C. were up 2.5% compared to a 0.7% increase on a national level.

Pfizer Viagra gets a new hobby

Since Viagra launched in Canada in 2001, Pfizer’s challenge has evolved to hone in on relevant emotional insights to prompt erectile dysfunction (ED) sufferers to take action. One recurring research nugget has been the way ED changes the lives of sufferers outside the bedroom as well as inside it: the things men did instead of sex to maintain their relationship.

In most cases this was a brave cover or worse, a complete denial. It was also pretty clear that most men would far rather have been spending their time engaged in more, er, traditional activities.


The campaign showcases the ways different couples spent ‘quality time’ together before Viagra came into their lives. The twist is that it portrays the activities – reading, strolling, sports and antiquing – as though they were the malady that needed treatment. In each of three executions, very straight-faced men talk about how these activities had taken over their lives until they sought the help of Viagra. Now if they choose to go for a stroll it’s because they really want to.

While Viagra prescriptions have increased since the campaign launched in April [numbers were provided], there has also reportedly been a marked drop in the incidence of strolling.

Carling makes great decisions

Carling has been around since 1840, which inherently sets it apart from the competition: it wasn’t brewed to be cheap – it was brewed to be good. Rather than competing with other value beer brands in a race to the bottom, why not let price be a pleasant surprise for a beer people would choose for its quality? This meant Taxi could position Carling as a truly great beer decision.

‘Great Beer Decisions Since 1840′ worked off the differentiator of product longevity. Every execution highlights a different great beer decision made by Carling drinkers. While some poetic licence had been taken regarding the impact of these decisions, they all establish Carling as a beer that has been a good choice for a very long time.


Media in the category has traditionally been TV-centric, but both the idea and the budget suggested targeted media and environments could create a whole larger than the sum of its parts. The campaign launched in newspapers with a ‘dual ad’ format that paired an historic great beer decision with a contemporary one. Radio and web told stories of beer decisions, and OOH invited consumers to share their own great beer decisions online. Future extensions include presence at events like CFL football games and in-case postcards inviting consumers to share their stories.

Despite a short time in market, the campaign is proving that ‘Great Beer Decisions’ was itself a great beer decision.

Reitmans struts its stuff

Offering reasonably priced clothing designed for a mainstream target, Reitmans was in need of a makeover. Years of targeting a broad audience had created a perception of blandness, but even the most practical woman still wants to look fashionable.

But how to define ‘fashion’? The Reitmans consumer is aware of current trends and wants to look good, but in clothes that fit her life. This insight sparked a campaign that had been running for five years under the tagline ‘Designed for real life.’

In 2008-09, the campaign took an even more tongue-in-cheek shot at high fashion. With the tagline ‘Reitmans one, haute couture zero,’ the campaign featured a pair of fashion experts demonstrating how runway trends fare in the real world compared to Reitmans’ fashions.

TV highlighted the dangers of sporting runway couture in real life, while online banners and OOH zeroed in on the key items promoted each season. The website gave more information and mix-and-match ideas. In stores, lines from the campaign were used in POP.

The campaign created a unique personality and attitude for Reitmans in a largely undifferentiated category, and the brand has experienced substantial growth since the launch. ‘Designed for real life’ has evolved into a mantra across all aspects of the business.

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Gold: DDB

Silver: Rethink

Bronze: Zig

Honourable Mention: Lowe Roche

Finalist: Ogilvy

Judging panel