IGA brings tattoos to life with AR

Sid Lee used Facebook features families already know to make engaging with a charitable campaign as simple as possible.


There are perhaps no tougher cookies than kids undergoing cancer treatment, and a new campaign is getting families across Quebec to support them with just a classic temporary tattoo and tools many already have in their pockets.

Grocery banner IGA teamed up with Sid Lee to create the “#ToughCookie” campaign on May 30, running in about 300 IGA stores across La Belle Province until it meets the $1 million goal in support of the Charles-Bruneau Foundation.

In a video shared on social media, anchorman Pierre Bruneau walks into a dimly lit tattoo shop to presumably get inked by an intimidating bearded man (Bruneau started the foundation in honour of his son who died of cancer 31 years ago in a tattoo parlour.. But then, the camera pulls back to reveal a kid and the tattoo to be of the temporary variety, featuring a bright-green anthropomorphized broccoli stem, before explaining how the temporary tattoos can be animated using Facebook’s AR technology. .

IGA_SidLee_FondationCB_PhotoSid Lee created five different versions of the family-friendly tattoos, which each come with a message of encouragement and come to life in a fun way when looked at through a phone. Early on, the decision was made to use Facebook’s existing AR technology instead of developing a new app from scratch, says Julie Desrochers, creative director at Sid Lee’s Montreal office. Not only would developing a new app be cost-prohibitive, but history has shown that if you create the extra work of downloading an app, you’ll lose engagement, notes Desrochers.

“What we found is people see AR are too much effort and seems too complicated, especially if people need to download an app,” she says. “With the Facebook app, you don’t have anything new to download, and that’s clever because it reduces the effort. When you go to the website, you select the tattoo you applied and it automatically opens the Facebook app for you, which people are really familiar with nowadays.”


The tattoos are selling for $2 each in stores and online and people can then share the animated tattoo image with the hashtag #ToughCookie. The campaign also involves videos, radio, print, billboards, web banners and POS displays to promote the sale of the tattoos (and thus donations). Québécor, a major partner of the foundation, donated in-kind media.

Carl Pichette, VP of marketing for parent company Sobeys. says IGA is on target to meet its fundraising goal this month. It’s also been a great way for the grocer to grow deeper roots in the Quebec communities with IGA stores.

“For us as a brand we wanted to support the Charles-Bruneau Foundation because family is important to us,” he says. “And our merchants are asking to be involved in that kind of fundraising because they want to give back to our communities, too.”