Canadian Tire ends the countdown to spring

The retailer leans into heightened anticipation Canadians have for getting outside by showing it has everything they might need.


Canadian Tire is adapting its “Canada’s Store” positioning to show active families champing at the bit for warmer weather that it is in the same state of mind.

Its latest campaign “Everything Awaits” features two TV spots where spring-themed images – like bicycles, barbecues and tents – are gradually revealed bit-by-bit like a clock. Enhancing the anticipation is Buddy Holly’s “Everyday,” with its chorus “Everyday, it’s a gettin’ closer.”

“One of the insights we landed on in January…was we felt like this would be the most anticipated countdown to spring in the history of Canada,” says Irene Daley, associate VP of strategic marketing at Canadian Tire.

Canadians are always eager for the doldrums of winter to end and turn into spring, and Daley says Canadian Tire would’ve likely leaned into the spring theme had the pandemic not occurred – she says the brand has used “Canada’s Spring store” on store-adjacent billboards and flyers in the past.

But with lockdowns creating even more anticipation for ways to get out of the house, she says it latched onto the countdown theme a bit more. There’s also clear cues from another high-anticipation time of year: Canadian Tire has previously run campaigns around a “Countdown to the Holidays,” when it refers to itself as “Canada’s Christmas store.”

This is the first time the spring season has been spotlighted in a really big way, Daley says, and leverages its positioning with seasonal products, like trampolines, tents and barbecues in particular. But it all ladders back to the long-held positioning of “being Canada’s store” and known as the retailer that has everything you need – reflected in the campaign with the tagline “Everything Awaits,” whatever it is someone is anticipating getting back to once the weather gets warmer.

The target for the campaign is active families, Gen X and millennials who “need a lot of stuff,” and Daley says success for the campaign will be measured by traffic driven to it spring-themed ecommerce page, and hashtag generation through social.

Canadian-tire-filterBesides the TV spot, Canadian Tire and its agencies came up with a lot of different ideas to tap into the anticipation of spring’s arrival.

In Montreal, bus shelters across the city feature digital OOH ads that update hourly to reveal many of the same seasonal images from the TV creative.

As part of the campaign, the retailer is also launching its first ever AR Instagram filter that brings the signs of spring to life. It will be promoted through the brand’s owned channels, with pitchman Gary incorporating the filter into the retailer’s popular tutorial and review videos.

It’s also counting down the days to warmer weather, with a Muskoka chair encased in a block of ice under The Bentway in Toronto, which will naturally melt over the course of a month, amplified by digital media on The Weather Network where users can hasten its shrinking by tapping a simulation.

“Nothing could be more Canadian than a block of ice melting,” Daley says, and she jokes that it was a challenge to find a location that could safely accommodate 7,000 lbs of melting ice but that also had good foot traffic.

The campaign is a collaborative effort between Canadian Tire’s in-house creative and media teams, as well as long-standing partners Taxi and Touche!  Taxi lead the strategy, creative and installation while Canadian Tire’s in-house team developed complementary digital assets including the AR Instagram filter.