Canadian Tire pledges to give communities what they need

The retailer's ad focuses on helping Canadians hold true to their values even though things are different, while getting the word out about a $5 million relief fund.
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Canadian Tire’s new brand spot aims to show that, although things are different right now, it is doing what it can to help Canadian communities handle it with resilience and make sure the important things stay the same.

The ad – created by Taxi – shows families spending time with each other inside their homes, backyards and over video chat, doing their best to maintain the “values” they have always lived by, like doing things for the people they love. The company then pledges to do what it can to help them do that, because “values matter more now than ever…not because we’re Canadian Tire, but because we’re Canadian.”

Part of that help is also shown through scenes of frontline healthcare workers doing their part in the fight against COVID-19, which Canadian Tire is trying to support through a $5 million response fund it has set up.

“It made a lot of sense for our brand to have a voice in the challenge we are facing as a nation and talk about how we’re in it together,” says Eva Salem, VP of strategic marketing at Canadian Tire Corporation. “We have overcome challenges in the past, and we’ll overcome this challenge as well. It’s a difficult time for all corporations right now, but looking beyond that, looking financially to help people who are in need, just really felt like the right thing for us to do.”

The $5-million relief fund, launched last Thursday, consists of two donations of $1 million each to the Canadian Red Cross and United Way Centraide Canada, as well as $3 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential products to frontline workers.

Aside from wanting to help those in need in the fight against COVID-19, Salem says the company also has the inventory to fill a lot of the needs Canadians have right now, such as cleaning supplies, hardware, safety shoes and hand sanitizer. Even though it avoids showing these products in the ad – instead more generally referencing “the things [Canadians] need to keep going” – the fact that consumers recognize Canadian Tire as a source of things they feel like they need to maintain what’s important in their lives is part of why it felt the need to be in market right now.

“The fact that we have such a massive footprint across the country and have always really leaned into communities, and what we can do in our communities through our dealer network, makes that much more sense for us as well,” Salem adds. Aside from the corporate-level response fund, Canadian Tire associate dealers and store owners have independently donated a total of 160,000 masks, 164,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 litres of hand sanitizer to local hospitals, nursing homes and community organizations.

The $1 million donation to the Canadian Red Cross will go toward supporting the organization’s field hospitals, relief supplies, isolation sites as well as supplying PPE to Red Cross personnel responding to the needs in communities across Canada. The other $1 million donation will be directed by United Way Centraide Canada as funding to support key community social services such as food delivery, outreach to seniors living in low-income or precarious housing and crisis lines, to name a few.

Salem says Canadian Tire wanted to get the money out “as quickly as possible” to assist in the fight against COVID-19. “We thought the quickest way to do that was to go with organizations that already had an infrastructure and a plan regarding what they were planning to use support for,” she says.

The campaign is airing on TV, social media and the Canadian Tire website. Touché conducted the media buying.