Going out on a limb here, but there’s nothing wrong with Canadian Tire’s Christmas tree ad

(Suggested soundtrack for the following story)

Canadian Tire says it has no plans to discontinue a holiday ad featuring a father-and-daughter duo who opt for an artificial Christmas tree over the real thing, despite criticism from Christmas tree farmers claiming that it’s tantamount to an “attack” on their industry.

A CBC report yesterday indicated that tree farmers in Quebec were “furious” about the recent ad “Snowy Search” (below), which depicts a father and daughter heading into the woods in search of a perfect Christmas tree, only for his daughter to nix their selections because they’re home to wildlife like birds and squirrels. The ad concludes with the pair decorating an artificial tree.

It’s an utterly charming and inoffensive spot (well, maybe except for that hideous white tree), but Shirley Brennan, executive director of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association, told the CBC that its “like an attack on our industry.” Others quoted by the CBC, including Jimmy Downey, president of Quebec’s Christmas tree producers association (APANQ), agreed.

The story even got some play in the U.S., courtesy of a Newsweek story which claimed that the ad suggests that artificial Christmas trees are more eco-friendly.

You could certainly infer that, but you could also infer that mainstream media brands love to whip up controversy with headlines featuring words like “furious” and pitting evil corporations against hard-working farmers. Good for the clicks, don’t you know.

Canadian Tire isn’t giving in on this one, though. “Our Christmas commercial is meant to convey a heartwarming story of a little girl and her father sharing a Christmas moment. The ad was not intended to be a statement on lifelike versus live trees,” it said in an e-mail statement to The Message.

“Canadian Tire prides itself on offering customers choice to suit their lifestyle. As such, we also work in collaboration with natural tree growers by selling their trees in over 200 of our stores. A partnership we are proud of.”

Thom Yorke was right. It wears me out.




Chris Powell