Canadian Tire opens its 100th year with a retrospective

The retailer begins its anniversary campaign by re-releasing classic ads that still embody its brand values.
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Canadian Tire is kicking off the celebration of its centennial year with a new campaign built from nostalgic parts.

The retailer’s new 30-second broadcast spot features segments from three of the brand’s “most well-known and revered ads,” says Jonathan Anderson, AVP of strategic marketing for the Canadian Tire Corporation.

The spots include “Albert” from 1984, which showed how a young child getting decked out in hockey equipment from Canadian Tire grew up to be a deciding factor for his team; 1989′s period piece “Bike Story,” in which a boy cutting a bike out from a Canadian Tire catalogue gave his dad a hint to what kind of gift he wanted; and “Wheels,” released during the 2016 Olympics, in which a boy finds a group of other kids in his neighborhood to play wheelchair basketball with.

Each of those ads have also been re-released as social content on Instagram and Twitter.

While the individual ads have amassed millions of views and won many international awards, “the real reason they were chosen is because at their core, they’re simple, emotive stories that celebrate how Canadian Tire has been there for Canadians for the past 100 years,” Anderson says. As each ad plays, the voiceover calls out brand values that Canadian Tire still leans into today, such as being there for each other, fulfilling dreams and playing together.

In tandem with the re-release of the advertisements, Canadian Tire has enlisted more than 50 influencers, athletes and celebrities to share memories of the retailer on social media. Those influencers include Scott McGillivray, Ashley Callingbull, Kayla Grey and Priyanka. It is also inviting ordinary Canadians to do the same, using the hashtag “#CT100Memory.”

That initiative was driven by a simple insight.

“When you work for Canadian Tire, you quickly learn that everyone has a favourite Canadian Tire memory,” says Anderson, noting that “thousands” of Canadians have shared their own stories across social media since the hashtag was debuted earlier this month.

In addition, the brand has released a unique collectible to help mark its centenary: a scented candle that smells like a Canadian Tire store.

“Everyone knows smell can trigger memory,” says Anderson. “So we introduced a Canadian Tire scented candle – Canada’s Scent – to give away and further motivate Canadians to share their memories.”

The spot was created by Leo Burnett, while the idea for the candle was conceived by Taxi, which concluded its run as the retailer’s AOR at the end of 2021. The spot letting Canadians know about the retailer’s 100th anniversary will run until the end of January, but Anderson says this is just the opening act of the campaign.

“As much as we’re enjoying leaning into the nostalgia, we’re really excited to celebrate where we’re going in the next 100 years and how the values and our special relationship with Canada will drive us forward,” he says.