IGA shares another food-centric holiday story

The Quebec grocery chain once again puts the focus on emotional connections and standing out during a hectic season.

By Bryan Myers

For the second year in a row, Quebec grocery chain IGA has centred it’s holiday campaign around an animated short-film focused on an emotional connection to food.

“The strategy is the same as last year,” says Carl Pichette, VP of marketing for IGA. “We wanted to give our customers a gift.”

The gift, says Pichette, is a break from aggressive marketing and an appeal to customers’ emotions.

“Inséparables” tells the story of Anto and Maxime, two children whose friendship grows over food they trade from their lunch boxes, and endures when one of them moves across the country to Vancouver.

“We could have showcased a lot of food at a big table like everyone does this time of year,” says Julie Desrochers, creative director at Sid Lee, the agency that worked on the campaign, “but we are showing the true essence of sharing. It’s about creating a bond between people, and food can be in the center of that.”

The full two-minute video aired on television and through social media channels, and will also be shown in movies theatres across Quebec. Carat handled the media buy.

“This time of year is aggressive in terms of advertising and promotional offers and our customers are busy preparing for the holidays as well,” says Pichette of the decision to run a full, two minute TV ad without cut-downs. “We wanted to offer a break from all the noise and craziness of the season for them to enjoy.”

Under new SVP of marketing Sandra Sanderson, IGA parent company Sobeys has been working to create clear distinction between its portfolio of retail banners, but Pichette says an emotional message communicated through 3D animation is a visual cue that sets it apart from other Quebec-focused banners this time of year.

“We’re working really hard to create brand affinity and brand differentiation all year long,” says Pichette. “During the year, we have different strategies in place that address our value proposition and store driving offers which help differentiate us from the competition. [During the holidays,] a 3D creative platform automatically sets us apart from the rest.”

Last year, IGA’s holiday campaign focused on building a love of cooking among children and their families. It generated over three million views and 80,000 shares across social media channels. This year, within the first week of the campaign, Pichette says the video reached nearly one million people organically.

With sharing as the central theme of the campaign, IGA is donating $1 to La Tablée Des Chefs for every share of the video on Facebook, as it did last year. Founded in 2002, La Tablée Des Chef delivers food to people in need and develops culinary education programs for youths.

“We play a role in people’s everyday lives and routine,” says Pichette. “It was important for us to stay connected in a different way, this time to people’s hearts.”