Sobeys works with Peter Mansbridge for “One Big Family” ad

Who: Sobeys and FCB, with UM Canada for media.

What: “One Big Family,” a new video about the grocery chain’s newly created Community Action Fund, which is empowering its more than 1,500 food and drug stores across Canada to address their community’s most urgent needs during the COVID crisis through food bank donations, gift cards, meals for at-risk people, etc.

When & Where: The ad debuted this week on social media, and will make its way to broadcast next week. Sobeys is also asking Canadians to share their family stories on social channels, using the hashtag #OneBigFamily.

Why: As one of the few industries still operating during the shutdown period, grocery has become a lifeline for communities across the country. It is also experiencing a surge in consumer demand, with front-line employees risking their personal health to serve customers.

How: It’s the latest in a series of hastily assembled ads made by brands as they adapt to the temporary DIY situation they find themselves in because of limited access to commercial directors, production houses, VFX companies etc.

The 60-second spot is built around user generated footage—of families during self-isolation, of front-line medical staff and Sobeys employees—and is narrated by former CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge. Sobeys made a donation to the United Way in his name.

Mansbridge opens the spot by asking “What defines a family? Is it genetics? Last name? A shared address? Or is family the people who care about you?” before the spot expands its point of view to show front-line workers, people who, Mansbridge says, are “giving everything so you’ll want for nothing.”

The spot progresses with a tiled image of Canadians all gathered together via technology such as Zoom. “If we all shared one surname and one house, it would be Canada,” says Mansbridge. The spot concludes by identifying Sobeys as “Canada’s family grocery store.”

And we quote: “We’re empowering the most important leaders in our community—our store managers and franchisee partners—and know by putting this investment in their hands, we can truly make a difference where and when [customers] need us most. This is the time for all of us to come together.” —Sobeys president and CEO Michael Medline in a March 23 Twitter post announcing the launch of the Community Action Fund.

Chris Powell