Canadian Tire gets ready for the holidays

The retailer refreshed its approach this year, focusing on the magic of Christmas and being prepared for the season.

Canadian Tire is stepping away from being product-focused in this year’s holiday campaign, instead choosing to focus on its role in helping Canadians bring the “magic” of the holiday season to life.

The retailer’s 2018 holiday campaign takes place in Mount Maple, a small mountainside town with a Canadian Tire at its centre. Each of the three spots focus on a different element of the holiday season that residents of the town are preparing for. Dickens-esque ghosts examine gifts around a home, and a giant emerges from the forest to help put up Christmas lights. Both the ghosts and the giant are in a longer, 60-second spot that uses “magical” baking to bring people together at a warm, holiday gathering.

Creative on the campaign was led by Taxi, with Touche handling the media buy.

Each of the spots end with the “Canada’s Christmas Store” tagline, which the retailer has used for many years during the holidays. For the previous six years, Canadian Tire’s holiday campaign has typically centred around a series of funny, 15-second spots showing the “CT Guy” talking about specific products in an effort to make the retailer be seen as a destination for gifts, not just the home and hardware goods it is traditionally associated with.

While the campaign has been successful, Eva Salem, VP of strategic marketing at Canadian Tire, says that it was time to refresh its approach after so many years, especially after seeing the results of research conducted this year that showed consumers didn’t think of the holiday season in product-focused terms, or even in terms of a specific day.

“It was about the season and celebration and magic of the season,” Salem says. “It also wasn’t about one day, it was about the whole season and seasonal preparedness. That fuelled the jumping off point for these spots. They are specifically about getting ready for the holidays in a way that also brings out their magic.”

While the holiday approach is new for Canadian Tire, Salem says that focusing on preparing for the holiday season – whether it comes to gifts, entertaining or decorating – fits with its established brand promise of being the go-to retailer for life in Canada. The town of Mount Maple is a community literally built around its Canadian Tire store, and each spot starts there before going into a home in the community, something Salem says also emphasizes Canadian Tire’s role in Canadian communities.

“We’ve done a really good job of establishing ourselves as the retailer that enables the jobs and joys of life in Canada,” she says. “That’s who we are at our core. Seasonal preparedness and finding what you need to do to enjoy the season and the jobs you need to do in order to get through it, that is absolutely our brand promise.”