AToMiC Awards: Social media comes to life

Canadian Tire and Molson bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds.
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Canadian Tire and Molson struck a chord with social media movements when they figured out how to turn online engagement into real-world executions. Mashing online and OOH channels together, the brands made it possible for consumers to see how their contribution in the digital world had an impact in the physical one.

In 2011, Canadian Tire’s research found 37% of Canadians would not mail Christmas cards that year, opting to send greetings via social media instead.

They took this data and, with Tribal DDB Toronto, created the social-powered “Christmas Spirit Tree,” brightening commuters’ path at Toronto’s Union Station. The 30-foot tall tree, equipped with 3,000 individually-programmed LED lights, blinked as Christmas keywords were found (using Sysomos’ social media monitoring technology) on blogs, forums, social media channels and at Christmasspirittree.ca.
Rosie Riolino-Serpa, assistant VP, digital, Canadian Tire, believes the “wow” factor of people having control over the tree’s brightness and patterns drove more participation than a traditional social media campaign.

“We had a live feed that was 24/7 [at the microsite] and you could see people actually standing in front of the tree, trying to find [four hidden words that made the tree light up in a special pattern].”

Paid online media delivered over 20 million earned impressions across Canada, while visitors from over 170 countries visited the site. In the two weeks the tree was live, visitors spent an average of seven minutes on the site.

Meanwhile, Molson M wanted a campaign that fit with its association with the arts, so working with Toronto agency BBDO, they set up a 100-foot canvas in downtown Toronto and encouraged consumers to tweet #MolsonM_art. For each tweet, artists at the billboard would add participants’ names to create a mural conceived by illustrator Kustaa Saksi, which could be viewed via a live feed.

“I think the key to its success was the fact that people could see the progression of that mural,” says Martine Bouthillier, senior marketing manager, Molson Coors Canada. “People would just walk by and take pictures, so aside from us giving information on the website, Twitter users would be a great help, spreading the word to their community.”

The brand received 10,000 tweets in 30 days, while generating more than 11.6 million impressions.

The Hardware

Best Print Engagement: Gold Molson M “Paint with a Tweet” / BBDO Toronto
Best Digital Engagement: Bronze Canadian Tire “Christmas Spirit Tree” / Tribal DDB