Canadian Tire becomes a one stop shop for moving forward

The retailer finds its stores are well-aligned with what consumers are looking for in the current phase of the pandemic.
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As the economies of provinces around the country slowly re-open, Canadian Tire’s latest brand spot aims to reflect how its customers are getting back to their lives in a way that makes sense to them.

In April, Canadian Tire released its first COVID-19-era brand spot, which focused on the company’s response to the pandemic, combining community donations with the ways customers have maintained the values they’ve always lived by.

Now, it is putting the focus on how its customers are spending time in this phase of trying to get over the pandemic hill. The new 30-second brand spot shows actual Canadian Tire customers using their time to be both productive and have fun, like a man working on his car in his garage, children playing hockey and people baking in their kitchens.

“[It’s] just being reflective of what’s happening with our customers and reflecting back to them this idea of moving forward [and] resiliency,” says Eva Salem, VP of strategic marketing at Canadian Tire.

Salem adds that a lot of the activities portrayed in the spot came from trends Canadian Tire was seeing in the marketplace – like what people were buying and the “how-to” videos they were searching for. The company also spoke to its regular panel of 110,000 customers on shopping habits, as well as things they were looking forward to or were worried about.

A key insight that played into the development of the brand spot is the growing consumer sentiment of wanting a consolidated shopping experience – having a breadth of product options without going into multiple stores so they can decrease their likelihood of contracting COVID-19.

According to Canadian Tire’s data, that’s an existing trend that was accelerated by the pandemic. In the past five years, consumers have gradually visited less retailers for their purchases for any given retail category. It also showed that when visiting less retailers, consumers are more likely to choose a “market leader” like Canadian Tire for that one-stop shop.

The company also found that retailers in essential categories have gained ground during the pandemic, and in-home improvement retailers were “relatively unscathed” in brick and mortar sales. Consumers also thought of the company the same amount as before the pandemic, even as bricks-and-mortar retail brands, in general, became less relevant.

“People aren’t interested in going to a bunch of small niche [stores],” Salem says. “They’re just looking to simplify, as much as they can, their shopping experience right now. We think we’re in a unique position to deliver against that,” as Canadian Tire stocks everything from “a mouse trap to a frying pan.”

Although the spot shows a host of different products Canadian Tire customers are using to pass the time in this quarantine recovery phase – hockey sticks, car tires, baking bowls and measuring cups – Salem says the spot is not so much about the assortment of products the company’s stores offer. It has more to do with “reflecting sentiment and emotion.”

“We were just showing people living their lives – and as they’re living their lives, the things that you need to do that are all things we can help provide,” she says. “But it really wasn’t about that. It was about finding those moments, and finding the joy in this new environment that we find ourselves in, and that Canadian Tire can play a role in that.”

Taxi led creative on the new brand spot, which will appear on TV and pre-roll video, with other elements in paid digital and OOH.