2019 Strategy Awards: Brand strategies that changed the game

Turnaround strategies that helped change consumer perceptions of No Frills, Motrin and the Terry Fox Foundation.

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No Frills, Motrin and the Terry Fox Foundation each went to market with turnaround strategies that defied conventions in their respective categories. The grocery retailer made budget shopping in vogue, the painkiller brand made menstrual pain its North Star, and the non-profit contemporized the charity run.

Millennial “smart shoppers” are motivated by the satisfaction of finding a great deal. With deal bragging showing up everywhere, No Frills decided to connect with the generation of deal hunters.
Instead of rebranding its store, it rebranded its customers as “Haulers” in a campaign that won a Gold in Game Changer and a Silver in Connection Strategy.

First, John St. created “Hauler” merchandise, which was teased with posters and print ads. Next, a music video aired during TV events like The Billboard Music Awards, and the track was released on Spotify, while enormous shopping carts in store parking lots epitomized the kind of hauling a person can do in a No Frills.

“Haulers” impacted the grocer’s bottom line, beating its sales KPI with a 1.9% lift and a 1% increase in traffic during the campaign.

Motrin was also a brand in desperate need of resuscitation. To avoid being delisted, it had to demonstrate it still had the potential for growth. So it did what any pharma brand facing a skeptical, disengaged audience (millennials) would do: it put itself in their shoes.

Enter “Tina’s Uterus,” a creative platform by OneMethod that positioned the brand as a cure-all for women’s menstrual woes. Spots showed employees at work within “Tina’s Uterus,” conjuring up creative ways to generate pain (like a shark attacking from the inside). The humourous spots helped the brand show the demo that it understands their debilitating pain, and went from preparing to be taken off shelves to achieving a sales increase of 16%.

The Terry Fox Foundation faced its own declines in annual donations and general awareness. It too needed to modernize its approach.

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How long could the nostalgia of one man last? That question was posed by Grip Limited when the foundation was looking to connect with those (from young Canadians to new immigrants) who might not be aware of Terry Fox and his legacy. The answer lay in redefining Fox’s heroic achievement through a social media lens.

The team used archival footage to juxtapose the shallow nature of social, creating the “Millions of Followers” campaign that included ads showing how Fox had “0 likes, 0 posts, 0 shares – but millions of followers.” The organization contextualized Fox’s story for a younger generation through media they’re familiar with. It also developed a digital billboard, where Canadians could tap their card or mobile device to donate to its cause. With each donation, the billboard updated in real time, showing a digital avatar of Fox moving along his historical route.

In an ironic twist, the social-critiquing campaign (which won a Silver in Turnaround Strategy) blew up online, receiving more than 400,000 views in the first 48 hours, while online donations increased by 45%.