IGA gets animated (again) ahead of the Winter Games

The grocer's previous holiday spot was just the start of a creative approach that links sports, family and camaraderie.


Spoiler alert: IGA is launching a surprise sequel to its animated holiday short “The Trophy,” released in November.

“The Athlete” features the same principles from IGA‘s winter spot, namely, a distant, curmudgeonly grandfather and his granddaughter, who he’d bonded with over a mutual love of hockey. The creative is coming to life on TV, online, and through social and running until February 20.

“This year, we wanted to create a holiday story that would continue at the Olympics,” says Mathieu Bouillon, copywriter at Sid Lee, the creative agency behind the campaign (with media handled by Carat). “The key to the strategy was to take advantage of the buzz that our holiday story usually generates to benefit the Team Canada sponsorship.”

According to Bouillon, the team wanted viewers to connect the dots rather than spoiling the punchline with a “To be continued…” conceit in the original holiday ad, which would have ruined the element of surprise.

Bouillon tells strategy that the work on the Olympic spot was well underway when Sid Lee received positive feedback on “The Trophy” and adds that IGA may continue to explore the same creative approach in future work.

The campaign builds on the brand’s theme of how family passion – for both sports and food – can define an athlete’s path in the pursuit of their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

The campaign is being amplified online via IGA’s microsite “Recipes for Champions,” led by chef Stefano Faita, an entrepreneur and cookbook author whose eponymous line of sauces are available at IGA and Sobeys. The series features a cook-off between athletes and their moms to highlight the importance of family in motivating athletes.

Both “The Trophy” and “The Athlete” mostly targets families, explains Caroline Duhamel, marketing director at Sobeys/IGA, adding that food is often associated with family togetherness and creating memories, and that the web series is about celebrating athletes’ favourite family recipes and moments of camaraderie during their training sessions.

Duhamel adds that the series is encouraging families to try some of Canada’s athletes favourite recipes using its TADA! meal-planning tool.


IGA is also providing grocery gift cards to all athletes and para-athletes who qualified for the 2022 Winter Games, ensuring that the athletes benefit from nutritious food during training days leading up to the Games, which is at the heart of the company’s “Feed the Dream” campaign, Duhamel notes. Most of the “Recipes for Champions” assets such as TV, digital and POS, call out to IGA Feed the Dream microsite.