Hudson’s Bay hosts at-home games on Canada Day

The retailer pivots its Olympic activations by getting athletes to wear its Team Canada collection during summer activities.
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When the summer 2020 Tokyo Olympic games were postponed in March, Hudson’s Bay – Team Canada’s official outfitter since 2006 – had to pivot summer marketing plans that would have seen its clothing worn by Canadian Olympians on international T.V.

Instead of being on the podium in Japan, the company and Team Canada athletes will be celebrating both “our Canadian pride” and “the best of summer” with the “Canada Day Games” on July 1.

HBC is encouraging Canadians to wear their Team Canada Collection gear – which remains available at both the company’s brick-and-mortar shops and its website, despite the Games being postponed – and participate in eight lighthearted, but competitive events.

The events include speed sunscreening, the burger flip, pairs ice cream eating, sprinkler jump, pool noodle javelin and artistic sparkler dancing. These are showcased in paid social ads and an online video, with would-be participants striking inspiring poses as they prepare for their events.

On the day of, Team Canada athletes will kick-start the competition and participate in the Canada Day Games’ events on social.

Iain Nairn, president of Hudson’s Bay, says the digital campaign is a way to “continue to stand behind our Olympic hopefuls” and galvanize national pride around summer activites on Canada Day, instead of the regular Olympic games.

Just prior to the pandemic, HBC came out with its “Live a Colourful Life” campaign, which highlighted how connections between people and feelings could make life more colourful. Since the pandemic began, it has shifted its marketing to be more TV and digital video focused, particularly when it comes to its ecommerce offerings, though it has also done some non-traditional executions to be where audiences have shifted, such as simulating products with its iconic stripes in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing.