Shopper Innovation Awards Grand Prix: Canadian Tire tests the limits

The famous Ice Truck takes the top prize, winning Canadians over by putting its battery through the ultimate test.
Ice Truck_clip

This story appears in the May 2015 issue of strategy.

Grand Prix
Gold: Original Idea

When prepping cars for winter, consumers typically install winter tires and sometimes have their washer fluid and engine checked. This prep work rarely includes replacing the battery, because to most people, “if the car starts, it works.”

Batteries are also sometimes viewed as a grudge purchase, not a preventative one. This can be problematic, as shifts in temperature during the winter can cause a battery that works at 7°C to fail at –7°C. For Canadian Tire to grow sales of the MotoMaster Eliminator AGM battery by 10%, the brand needed to convince Canadians to care about the battery in their vehicle.

To prove that Canadian Tire’s products are made for life in Canada, Taxi put the MotoMaster battery through the ultimate test.

Knowing Canadians need their batteries to work when it matters most (such as for an early morning hockey practice), the agency demonstrated the efficacy of the MotoMaster by creating a dry-ice machine that froze the battery to –40°C. It then used the battery to power a fully functioning, driveable truck made out of 11,000 pounds of ice.

To prove the “Ice Truck” wasn’t a hoax, every stage of the process was filmed for a “making of” documentary, which was posted online and promoted via the retailer’s social media channels. What’s more, the brand took the truck on a 1.6 km drive through the town of Hensall, ON, where it was shown off to a crowd of cheering residents. Finally, it was filmed as it thawed so people could watch online.

PR impressions totalled more than 80 million, while YouTube views surpassed 3.5 million. The video was seen around the country and world via CTV, CBC, the New York Times, Fox News, CNN, the U.K.’s Daily Mail, as well as some of the top news outlets in Germany and Australia. Even Ripley’s Believe It or Not picked it up for one of its radio episodes.

More importantly, the campaign far exceeded the objectives: the brand set a sales record, with a 70% year-over-year increase in MotoMaster Eliminator AGM batteries, lifting sales for the entire Canadian Tire automotive battery category by 24.6% (versus industry growth of 8.24%).


Advertiser: Canadian Tire
VP strategic marketing: Susan O’Brien
AVP of strategic marketing: Eva Salem
Associate marketing manager, automotive: Derek Welosky
Agency: Taxi Canada
ECD: Darren Clarke
CD: Irfan Khan
ACD: Dave Luxton
Sr. AD: Colin Brown
Sr. CW: Tom Greco
Group account directors: Lesley Rivard, Agatha Wronecka
Account director: Michael Strasser
Director digital strategy: Sean McDonald
Group director, creative technology: Ben Feist
Strategy director: Scott Beffort
CD(Taxi Montreal): Manuel Ferrarini
CW (Taxi Montreal): Tanya Henri
Account services (Taxi Montreal): Carole Nantel