Scotties brings the joy of curling to new communities

For the 40th Tournament of Hearts, Kruger made a TV spot about trying the sport so it could speak to a broader audience.

In a year defined by distance, Kruger Products had to get creative to properly celebrate its 40th year as the title sponsor of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Canada’s National Women’s Curling Championship.

The Scotties campaign continues the organization’s overall mission and vision of making life more comfortable, says Susan Irving, CMO of Kruger Products. She notes that while its sponsorship initiatives always include a CSR component, now, more than ever, charitable and philanthropic goals are essential in all of their campaigns.

First-and-foremost, the campaign needed to reflect the pride of being part of the Tournament of Hearts for over 40 years, Irving says. “Our partnership with Curling Canada, the provincial and territorial associations and our support of women’s curling has only grown stronger over the years. I think we’ve seen a sponsorship evolve into a true partnership, one where Scotties has become synonymous with women’s curling in Canada.”

In addition to the brand’s annual presence on uniforms, in-arena signage, on-ice logos, scoreboards and rink boards, Kruger is newly activating on-pack prizing and a new TV commercial across the country to drum up enthusiasm.

While there is always a dedicated national TV spot and media buy for the Scotties, Irving says they wanted to develop new creative for this year’s event. The last dedicated Scotties spot was shot in 2018, emphasizing the brand’s focus on women and their involvement in the sport. The new spot, created by John St., still targets Canadian women, she notes, but is also positioned to “inspire the next generation of young women and girls to explore the great game, whether by playing or tuning in to the championship.”

The spot was also created to emphasize the need for creativity and imagination within a COVID-19 landscape, featuring a young girl using many different Kruger brands to celebrate her love of curling and 40 years of the Scotties.

Overall, the strategy around the Scotties hasn’t changed significantly, but has been shifted to invest in the prizing and new TV creative.

The biggest challenges, Irving says, were the community-level engagement and determining the best way to give back during a time where so many Canadians have lost their jobs. “Cash is king,” Irving says. Knowing they wouldn’t be able to do much more at the local level, she says it was important to focus on how much they could put into the national giveaway.

Kruger will still have the same on-site presence from a branding perspective, Irving says, but of course can’t activate anything on the ground. Still, “we feel the numbers [from the campaign] will be just as high as last year, it’s just missing that local connectivity and we’re excited for Thunder Bay next year.”

To compensate for the COVID-19 landscape and the lack of on-the-ground engagement it would normally have generated, Kruger went outside the curling audience it normally targets, going for a bigger, broader national media buy.

“With this being the 40th year we wanted to share Scotties Tournament of Hearts with the nation instead of just targeting the curling obsessed as we have done in previous years,” says Jay Black, client business manager at Wavemaker, which handled the buying.

The media agency amplified the campaign nationally through TSN as they have in the past, but Black adds that they also ran a full national brand-sell campaign to support and amplify outside of the sponsorship. They also amplified a giveaway on Facebook and Instagram, which includes limited edition contest packs that give consumers a chance to win one of four $10,000 cash prizes.