Circle K wants you to be lucky this holiday

The convenience chain taps into a near-universal insight to keep people engaged with a brand that is still young.
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Alimentation Couche-Tard is hoping an advent calendar contest from Circle K will raise awareness for a brand that was introduced to Canadians three years ago.

As part of its “31 Days of Circle K” campaign, the brand has released a series of spots promoting the contest, showing individuals who claim to “never win anything” – that is, until their phones tell them they’ve won items ranging from candy to coffee to gift cards.

“Canadians went through a challenging year and deserve some surprise and delight in their lives for the holiday season,” says Mélissa Lessard, head of marketing and merchandising for Canada at Couche Tard.  “We also know from past experiences that Canadians like to play online games, share wins with friends and interact with our brands in that way.”

She says individuals many people feel innately unlucky, an insight that came from discourse with Circle K customers and staff – all of whom “were pleasantly surprised” after playing the game, which consists of tapping on an Advent calendar.

This is the second year Circle K has run an online game for the holidays, something Lessard says its customers are beginning to look forward to. But it is also trying to drive trial among more customers, as well as store traffic for a banner that began replacing the long-running Mac’s brand in 2017.

“We always want to grow the circle of customers coming to our stores, and we’ve noticed that wanting to feel lucky is a desire that has no age, no gender, no geographical constraints. Therefore, it would resonate with everyone who may need a little stop on their journeys,” she adds.

Alimentation Couche-Tard noted in its most recent quarterly report that even though traffic remained “soft” throughout its network of Couche Tard, Circle K and Ingo locations due to the pandemic, the effect on sales was “more than” offset by an increase in the average basket size as consumers sought to consolidate their trips.

Although the issue of the pandemic isn’t explicitly stated in the campaign, Circle K is looking for ways to keep its customers engaged and remain top of mind, given that they may be wary about going to the brand’s physical locations.

The brand looks to create awareness and be in customers’ consideration set through the “short” and “relatable” content it’s created as well as the compelling prizes, Lessard notes.

Havas handled the creative for the campaign, while MediaCom was tasked with the media buy. Six12 Creative developed the “31 Days of Circle K” contest, administered it and carried out the prize fulfilment. There is paid digital and social.