2020 Brand Holiday Ads: part one

Tim Hortons, Canada Post and Hemisphere address diversity, human connections and the holiday "high."

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‘Tis the season when we hate-to-love binge-watching classic Christmas flicks, creamy eggnog and carols by the fire. It’s also the time of year when brands pull out the red-and-green carpet on their holiday ads. So we’ve rounded up a few that made it to air this week, and invite our readers to share their brand commercials by giving us a shout

Canada Post reminds Canadians of its services during the holidays

Canada Post is reminding Canadians that although we’ll be apart from our extended families this holiday season, we can still send each other joy in the mail.

“A Street Named Joy,” created by The&Partnership, shows a mailman dropping off deliveries while carolling mailboxes sing about the “joy” that comes from receiving things like a parcel from Uncle Paul.

The campaign launched ahead of what is expected to be a busy holiday season for Canada Post, with roughly 71% of Canadians planning to do at least some of their shopping online. Of that cohort, approximately 79% say they prefer home delivery and 40% expect it to be fast and free. Canada Post has added over 1,000 vehicles to its fleet and hired more than 4,000 temporary staff to keep up.

There is paid digital and social pushing the campaign out, with Touché handling the media buy.

Tim Hortons follows through on D&I commitments

Tim Hortons is highlighting diversity and inclusion in its latest holiday campaign, showing how the snow people that Canadians create are as diverse as the individuals who make them.

“Snowpeople” was created by U.S.-based agency Gut and features families building and accessorizing a snow person in a way that reflects their culture and heritage. The characters in the spot were inspired by real Canadians and their families, who submitted designs for snow people to be included in the campaign. According to Tim Hortons, 21 different submissions were selected for the spot, which launched on Wednesday across TV, web and social media.

The spot celebrates finding happiness in the smallest things in life, like building a snow person. This sort of minimalist approach has been heightened as a result of the pandemic, where, according to a Maru/Matchbox market research study from April, one of the top priorities for Canadians is to connect with family and friends – a sentiment that has carried on throughout the pandemic.

“Snowpeople” is also intended to celebrate diversity and inclusion in Canada. And despite Tim Hortons being viewed as one of the top brands championing D&I for Canadians, its parent company RBI has some work to do. For instance, while six of the 12 board members for RBI are people of colour, there is only one woman.

In July, RBI published 10 actions the brand is taking to become more diverse and inclusive. Among these commitments was a pledge to have at least 50% of all final round candidates for any role at RBI’s four corporate offices be “demonstrably diverse,” including gender, race and sexual orientation. The parent company also made a commitment to bring more diversity to its marketing, and that each of RBI’s brands in Canada and the U.S. would track progress by publicly reporting on the percentage of spots featuring diverse people, from gender to race and sexual orientation, as well as their average time on screen.

Hemisphere Cannabis Co. composes catchy jingles to make its mark

Amidst a second wave – with cannabis stores deemed non-essential and limited to pickup and curbside delivery – Hemisphere Cannabis Co is looking to stand out with a cannabis-themed holiday album.

“Holiday High”, an eight-song album by “The Hemisphere Buds” (a.k.a the Toronto Christmas Market’s Candy Cane Carolers), features classic Christmas carols, but with a THC twist. Song titles include: “Silent Night, Gummy Night” and “Pack the Pipe (with balls of Ganja).”

Creative agency OstrichCo worked with the cannabis brand, which is owned by Second Cup’s parent company Aegis, to develop the concept, produce the tracks, as well as the video promotional assets.

The goal of the album is to induce feelings of holiday nostalgia from simpler times, but also to generate brand awareness for Hemisphere, which only just launched in July. It’s beginning to expand across Canada, with a new location opening on Dec. 10 in Ottawa’s Byward Market, following the debut of a store in downtown Toronto in November. It also has plans to open its first Alberta store in the near future.

The legal cannabis industry has seen a “boon” in sales in recent months. In July, licensed marijuana stores sold more than $231 million in product – a 15% increase from sales in June – the biggest monthly change since Canada legalized cannabis. According to Statistics Canada, Canadians spent 74% more on licensed cannabis between April and June 2019 than the same time last year.