Canadian Tire's unexpected gifts

Christmas is, without doubt, the most important time for retailers in Canada. For a retailer who has as large a product offering as Canadian Tire, you would assume that it'd occupy a good portion of people's wish lists.

But only 30% of Canadians say "buying gifts" is their primary reason for shopping at Canadian Tire. Sales during this pivotal time were being hampered by this reputation. As "Canada's Store," Canadian Tire needed a new way to spin Christmas gifting to get Canadians to also think of it as "Canada's Christmas Store."

While Canadian Tire plays across a diverse range of categories, there are three where it's always maintained a low profile: electronics, apparel and children's toys. Problematic, since those categories, although ordinary and expected, dominate Christmas gifts. But the retailer also has over 90,000 SKUs in a host of categories ranging from sports to housewares to automotive to tools.

And there the idea was spawned: position Canadian Tire as the store to get that special someone something not ordinary or expected.

To communicate the range of "Unexpected Gifts" Taxi selected nine unexpected products for 15-second TV spots that included everything from fun gifts for foodies (a one-of-a-kind Pizza BBQ) to never before seen gifts for kids (a backyard hockey rink in a box).

To avoid overwhelming consumers with the nine different spots, Taxi created a consistent campaign that featured Canadian Tire spokesperson Gary in the woods with a roaring fire, offering Unexpected Gift advice to individuals struggling to find the perfect gift.

"Unexpected Gifts" was also extended online, in-flyer, in-store and OOH, with a larger than life unexpected gingerbread house, further cementing Canadian Tire as Canada's Christmas Store.

The spots led to a brand link score of 91% (31% higher than IPSOS norm) and branded recall of almost two times higher than norm.

The campaign also had a huge impact in-store. Its intense three-week period outperformed the ten-month pre-test period lifting featured product sales a massive 2,455%.