Lifestyle wars: Canadian Tire vs. Loblaw

The retail giants go head-to-head with new efforts focused on everyday living.

When it comes to everyday living, Loblaw and Canadian Tire have different ideas about what will help them stand out.
The Everydayliving section now found in 21 Loblaw stores across the country – the first change since Joseph “Joe Fresh” Mimran was appointed its category creative director – is part of an effort to surprise and delight moms, says Craig Hutchison, SVP marketing, Loblaw.
To provide an improved shopping experience, the company made wayfinding easier, lowered the height of shelves and consolidated all non-food items (from camping gear to kitchen appliances) into one area that takes design cues from Joe Fresh. Loblaw also launched a spring campaign by Bensimon Byrne touting Everydayliving, which includes a TV spot focused on patio furniture, in-store signage and an Everydayliving Outdoor catalogue – all designed with a Joe Fresh aesthetic. Communications will be seasonal.
Canadian Tire also took pains to differentiate itself this spring, launching a robust campaign developed by Taxi, which applies a consistent message, look and feel across all mediums. It features the tagline “Bring it On,” a war cry challenging families to take on the job or joy at hand, understanding that Canada’s nature has shaped the nature of Canadians. It includes TV, OOH, print and online ads, flyers, POP and digital.     
We asked Carlos Moreno, SVP, executive CD, BBDO Toronto, and Jacqueline O’Sullivan, marketing director, Microsoft Advertising, to
tell us whose everyday living effort springs it ahead of the rest.

Loblaw bows Everydayliving

Overall strategy
Moreno: The strategy of putting “everyday living” items in one section of the store and branding it not only works but also taps into the consumer’s overall shopping experience, making it easier for them to personally experience the products. O’Sullivan: Moms are busy people. Multi-tasking is their middle name. Research we’ve conducted shows that brands that succeed with moms are ones that help them, connect them or entertain them. I applaud Loblaw for understanding that they can help moms by offering a wider variety of non-food-related products in-store.
While I understand the business strategy, I don’t quite get the marketing strategy. The Everydayliving brand seems to be missing in action on their in-store materials, and as it’s primarily aimed at moms, I couldn’t understand why it featured a man in the commercial that focused on product but didn’t explain anything about either the brand proposition or the value to the customer.

Moreno: The look and feel is consistent with what the Joe Fresh brand did – using clean lines, fresh and bold colours. There is something about this work that makes me think of Ikea (style for the masses), which might not necessarily be a good thing since Ikea has such a strong hold on that segment of the market. As the store experience evolves and grows, the creative will have to do the same to make sure they develop their own brand personality and emotion.
O’Sullivan: While the use of colour and simplicity is highly effective, I’m not certain how these creative elements have really differentiated Loblaw from the competition or fully introduced the Everydayliving brand. This creative can also be seen as limiting, long-term, given there may not be the desired breadth and flexibility.

The creds
advertiser Loblaw; agency Bensimon Byrne; CD/copywriter/AD John Maloney; prodco Sugino Studios; director Shin Sugino; director Brendan Quinn; talent Josh Milko; agency producer Michelle Pilling; account directors Mark Hewitt, James Grant

Canadian Tire says “Bring it On”

Overall strategy
Moreno: Differentiating Canadian Tire in the retail space by celebrating our uniquely Canadian everyday experiences and making the consumer proud to be Canadian, is not only right but it works. The brand tapped into the psyche of the Canadian consumer, showing what is true about their lives and experiences that they can easily relate to in a way that only Canadian Tire can do.
O’Sullivan: Tapping into a sense of national pride isn’t unheard of in advertising, but if it’s not broken why fix it? What I really like about this campaign is that it has so many legs to it. “Bring it On” is a branding initiative but it can link to product (and does) at the drop of a hat. It plays across all seasons and means that the Canadian Tire team know that they have an underpinning campaign platform that can actually build the brand and the bottom line at the same time.
It means that all marketing investment will support the overarching brand metrics but they will also be able to execute short-term, product-driven initiatives coming out of this campaign. Furthermore, the scope for telling more stories across all platforms means it isn’t a campaign that is in any danger of becoming tired in the short term.

Moreno: The campaign does a good job of putting up a mirror in an attempt to make the consumer feel something for an iconic Canadian brand. From a creative point of view, perhaps there could have been a fresher way of pulling this off, but overall a good starting point for Canadian Tire. It’s a solid creative platform that they hopefully will be able to build from.
O’Sullivan: Not only do the creative elements tie directly to the strategy, Canadian Tire has done a brilliant job of identifying those unique moments that Canadian consumers will emotionally identify with. Where I think they have an opportunity is really coming to grips with the potential for social in this campaign. Now, they do have over 130,000 Facebook fans but the content is all from the brand rather than the brand facilitating a two-way dialogue and creating user-generated content by implementing fun and engaging digital strategies. My recommendation would be to think about how an integrated paid, owned and earned digital strategy can be applied and also to ensure there’s integration between the online and offline elements.

The creds
advertiser Canadian Tire; agency Taxi; co-ECDs Darren Clarke, Jason McCann; CDs Nathan Monteith, Stefan Wegner; ADs Nathan Monteith, Julie Nikolic; writers Stefan Wegner, Irfan Khan, Geoff Morgan; VP, integrated production Cynthia Heyd; agency producer Megan Flett; prodco Industry Films; director Jeff Labbe; account manager Leanne Parnass; media agency Mediacom

Who brought it?

A point of differentiation
Moreno: Not only did Canadian Tire change the conversation when others were trying to be what they are, they tapped into their consumers’ everyday Canadian life and attached their brand to it. That’s what market leaders do when you want to differentiate yourself. Good job.
O’Sullivan: With their new, insight-driven and robust campaign, Canadian Tire tried to set themselves apart from their retail competition and succeeded. They’ve created a multi-platform, highly ownable campaign that will most certainly stand the test of time. This campaign speaks volumes about the fact that they understand the needs of the Canadian consumer and how to reach them.

Customer connection
Moreno: Human beings love stories and ultimately connect with brands that tap into their personal experiences. Brands that do this, in this case Canadian Tire, will have a stronger connection with their consumers.
O’Sullivan: Canadian Tire will best resonate with customers, especially if they expand past the generic and start to localize, and also invite conversations with their customer through strong social strategies. Congratulations on a great campaign.