Rona renovates its Olympic sponsorship

The home reno retailer is activating its fourth sponsorship of the Games with a larger investment in digital media, as well as a comical TV spot.

Rona is all to do with renovations and home upkeep. And it takes the role very seriously, as seen in television and digital ads from the brand (with creative spearheaded by Sid Lee and media by Carat), where it announces itself as a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games and puts itself in the path of athletes.

The centrepiece for the campaign is a 90-second commercial that shows Canadians running, kayaking, cycling, swimming and horseback riding across the country from British Columbia to Newfoundland. In their hands lies a screwdriver, meant to represent the Olympic torch.

The spot will be broadcast across all CTV channels during the Olympics. The biggest change for the brand, which has now sponsored the Games four times, is it has significantly ramped up its digital spend this time around, says Karim Salabi, executive VP of marketing, Rona.

This year the brand will be investing almost 20% of its media buying in digital, compared to 2% for the Vancouver Olympics, he says, adding that the online component of the campaign includes traditional banner ads as well as search engine marketing, social media and mobile.

“It’s a very significant shift to reflect the fact that Canadians over the last two years have started consuming more online media,” says Salabi. “[This year] there’ll also be a five-hour time difference,” he says, explaining that the brand is honing in on those who will likely watch in their office on their computers, rather than on their home television.

Olympic campaigns like Rona’s, which cover TV and digital, are likely to capture the majority of Olympic viewers, according to survey results from Ipsos. The research company released a global study stating that 65% of respondents will be watching the Olympics on TV, with 23% planning to watch on the internet.

Also a part of the brand’s digital efforts, Rona has launched a virtual relay called “Plant Your Feet” that has the brand promising to plant one tree for every kilometre walked or run by Canadians in support of Team Canada athletes. The initiative lives on Rona’s website where consumers can register and track their distance. Rona has also set itself a goal of 40,075 trees, one for each kilometre needed to travel around the world from the equator.