Cause + Action: Canadian Tire levels the hockey playing field

Through "The Big Play," the retailer's Jumpstart program ensures disadvantaged kids can play hockey.
Canadian Tire dressing room


In Canada, hockey is more than a simple pastime – it’s a unifying force that brings people together. Unfortunately, one in three families can’t afford to enroll their children in organized sports.

So, in December 2014, Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart charity and the Hockey Canada Foundation (HCF) partnered to launch “The Big Play,” which aims to help give Canadian kids the opportunity to play minor hockey.


Through “The Big Play,” Jumpstart and the HCF made a commitment to bring 30,000 kids into minor hockey over the next three years. The program assists Canadian youth (ages four to 18), who come from financially disadvantaged families, with the costs of registration, equipment and transportation.


Jumpstart connected the program to one of the biggest hockey events – the World Junior Championship. Leveraging the excitement leading up to the tournament, Canadian Tire, along with Jumpstart ambassador and Canada’s World Junior hockey team member, Connor McDavid, announced it would make a $250,000 donation to the local Jumpstart chapter of each member of Canada’s team. These funds helped five kids from each player’s hometown to play hockey.

At “The Big Play” launch, Jumpstart kids were surprised with tickets to the Team Canada game on Dec. 26. A national PSA aired that day as well, highlighting the program with a call-to-action for families to go online to learn more. The ad was produced by Cleansheet, Touché handled the media buy and North Strategic led the PR.

In addition, Canadian Tire and its agencies worked with Twitter to develop a program that leveraged live TSN content. Fans from across Canada saw “big plays” from every game of the tournament on the TSN and TSN Hockey Twitter feeds. For each re-tweet of TSN’s #BigPlay videos, Canadian Tire donated 25 cents to get kids into the game.


“The Big Play” was the most successful marketing campaign in Jumpstart’s history. It propelled the charity’s brand awareness for the period to 95% – the highest ever recorded for the organization. #BigPlay became synonymous with World Juniors on Twitter, receiving more than 91,000 re-tweets and raising $45,657. Even Prime Minister Harper sent a congratulatory tweet to Team Canada using #BigPlay.
Fan engagement on social media exceeded industry norms, with 7.2% engagement versus the 4.1% norm on Twitter, and 3.4% engagement versus the 2% norm on Facebook. Jumpstart also saw a 30% increase in traffic to its website.


“I’ve long been a fan of the Canadian Tire/Jumpstart partnership. They really nailed it with ‘The Big Play.’ The creative was well-executed, and the strategy to align with the 2014 World Juniors tournament was brilliant. Incorporating the players’ hometowns took this campaign from the world stage to community rinks, inspiring less fortunate kids to dream.”
– Marie Magnin, KBS