Loblaw emphasizes customers’ passion for food

A holiday campaign created for all its market banners celebrates the season's obsession with food with an original song.

For the holidays this year, Loblaw is leaning heavily on something many people already feel to be true: Christmas is about all the food.

“A campaign around that idea united the Loblaws, Zehrs, Atlantic Superstore, Your Independent Grocer and other Loblaw retail banners. It’s the first time the company has created a campaign of this scale, says Wes Brown, the company’s VP of marketing. It was important for the company to have “one cohesive message that expresses our love of food while being top of mind for the Canadian consumer during the biggest food occasion of the year.”

Led by agency Lg2, the bilingual campaign suggests that the season is one of “indulgent delights,” no matter how you celebrate the holidays. A spot running across TV and digital (with a radio adaptation) is focused around an original song that celebrates indulging on food. The tune has been made available for download on iTunes and Spotify, and is being supported with social content, print and online banner ads, as well as a life-size dinner party experience at the Loblaws store at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

“At the time of the holidays, people are ready to indulge and go overboard, for no better reason than the fact that it is Christmas,” Brown says, “and that is what we wanted to give them in this year’s campaign.”

The advantage of recording an original song as opposed to using a Christmas classic – as many other brands are prone to do – is twofold, he says. First, there were no holiday classics that could speak as directly to food as a new, original song could. Second, it allowed Loblaw to incorporate its key message – by including it right in the name – and to position its banners as providers of the food so many Canadians view as central to their celebrations.

From a media perspective, the company is looking to engage customers on as many channels as possible, Brown says, while using retargeting techniques to ensure it remains top-of-mind through the end of the year.

Outside of the holidays, Loblaw’s President’s Choice private label has focused its marketing around the idea of “eating together” since 2017, based on the insight that eating in solitude leads to unhappiness. It evolved the campaign earlier after learning that people often start eating alone when they enter the workforce. Much of that work has been focused on shifting PC away from product-focused advertising to a strategy with more emotional heft.

Loblaw has been working with Lg2 since 2016, primarily on its Provigo brand in Quebec, and specifically on a Montreal Canadiens campaign this year. This year, it broadened the scope to include holiday work across its entire market division brand portfolio.

Dentsu has been servicing as media AOR for the company since 2014.