Happy Birthday, Canada

July 3, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

This past weekend Canada celebrated its sesquicentennial, or a really long word meaning 150th birthday.

Pop the maple syrup!

In all seriousness, this marks a huge anniversary for Canada. It’s a time to remember our best qualities, ignite action on the things that need to be addressed and spend quality family time together.

It’s also a chance for brands to get in on all the action.

The thing is, brands either soar or they sink with all the rest of the noise.

This week, the Battle for Time highlights the brands who didn’t get buried under the balloons and streamers.

Here’s who captured our minutes this week:

#EatTogether – President’s Choice

“Canada, what are you bringing to the table?”

This is what President’s Choice asks its audiences for its Canada 150 activation.

The great thing about this campaign is the PC started it as soon as 2017 began in January. This wasn’t something that launched leading up to Canada Day. Instead, it was a concerted effort to start a conversation around Canadians coming together and connecting over a meal.

It’s obvious why this is on brand, so we won’t delve too much into that.

What makes PC’s story so powerful is that it was drawn out through the #EatTogether hashtag that encourages audiences to share a dish they love to serve for friends and family.

At the base of it, PC wants to bring our nation together. Forget the product, it’s about the people. Cheers to that!

Bite Beauty Canada Day Amuse Bouche Lipstick

First off, Bite Beauty is a Canadian brand and is Canadian-made, by hand. That’s hard to find in the beauty world, especially when they’re just so much out there.

This lipstick is a part of the brand’s Canada Day collection of “high-impact lipsticks in dimensional shades that deliver ultra hydration, sublime texture and creamy wear.” Gotta look good for the 150th.

Sure, this activation is product-facing. The it’s product-facing in a world where there’s very little Canadian product out there.

If you go to Sephora (yup, an American beauty retailer) and look at the products the majority are European, Japanese, Australian or American.

This is a great move for Bite because it reminds customers of its origins. This is repping done right.

(Oh and it’s sold out. Canadians are pretty popular people.)

The Drake General Store

Talk about variety. The Drake General Store is already such a beloved Canadian retail gem.

No matter what time of year it is, the store is all about Canada and carefully (read: painstakingly) curates Canadian goods like clothing, housewear, food and more.

To kick it up a notch for Canada 150, The Drake General Store created the X(OH!) Canada shop within its overall collection which highlights 3 parts:

-Provincial Florals, a t-shirt and hat collection printed with each province and territory’s flowers.

-DGS + Etsy, a collection of souvenirs and emblems that are the result of a nation-wide contest for artisans to submit their work to be sold.

-ONE FIF TEE, 10 limited edition t-shirts that came from DGS joining forces with Hudson’s Bay and ad agency Sid Lee. Did we mention they’re all designed by Canadians?

The shining part of DGS’ celebratory collections for Canada 150 is that they’re born in collaboration, a hallmark of the way Canada it conducts itself.

By bringing together local talent from all over the country and giving it a pedestal

Roots ‘Nice’ Campaign

Everything about this campaign is just so much YES.

Canada is internationally known for being polite and for being the nice ones out there.

This campaign is so full of heart and comes at a time where political instability abroad and nationally is so front of mind.

And just when you thought this campaign was going to be all fluff, it ends on a note reminding all Canadians that this “nice” image isn’t an excuse to coast by, especially when there’s so much Canada could do better.

We won’t reveal the scene, but this is what made Roots win the Battle for Time. The brand ran with an expected narrative, but made it more meaningful by examining both the comfortable and uncomfortable aspects of it.

It’s a great example of a brand standing for more than salt and pepper sweats.

Wondering how to be a brand that does Canada 150 well? Check out the Canadian Marketing Association’s article on brand activations. The keys are to start now, tell your brand’s REAL story and turn heads.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?


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The Battle for Time - Week of June 25.