With Tokyo Olympics on hold, Hudson’s Bay creates its own games

Who: Hudson’s Bay with FCB for creative and Cossette Media.

What: With the Tokyo Olympics postponed because of COVID, Hudson’s Bay created the “Canada Day Games,” eight outdoor events that almost any Canadian can compete in, not just Olympians.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, timed for Canada Day.

Why: Hudson’s Bay has been the official Canadian Olympic team outfitter since 2006. A  new line of Canadiana-themed clothing is released with each Olympics, with people invited to show their support by shopping at Hudson’s Bay. With the Olympics on hold (along with a big piece of Hudson’s Bay’s 2020 marketing plan), the business needed a new platform to promote this year’s line.

How: Hudson’s Bay came up with eight lighthearted events: speed sunscreening; the burger flip; pairs ice cream eating; sprinkler jump; freestyle strutting; pool noodle javelin; synchronized celebrating; and artistic sparkler dancing. Not exactly the Decathlon, 100-metre sprint or 200 metre freestyle swim, but desperate times….

Ad creative shows eight real Canadian Olympians, each ready to compete in the Canada Day Games. Hudson’s Bay is also hoping Canadians will actually try some of the events and share their attempts through social.

Which athletes?: Antoine Valois-Fortier (Judo/Burger flip), Christabel Nettey (Athletics/Sprinkler jump), Heather Bansley (Beach Volleyball/Speed Sunscreening), Jennifer Abel (Diving/Artistic Sparkler Dancing), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Freestyle Skiing/Pairs Ice Cream Eating), Khamica Bingham (Athletics/Freestyle Strutting), Sean McColl (Sport Climbing/Pool Noodle Javelin) and Skylar Park (Taekwondo/Synchronized Celebrating).

What about the clothes? The Team Canada clothing in market now is the same line planned for Tokyo: “Key features include bold tones of red and black with striking pops of gold, strong graphics and a nod to graffiti and street style, all woven together with the confident use of the Maple Leaf.”

Quote: “Hudson’s Bay is a proud supporter of Canadian athletes as the Official Outfitter of Team Canada, even if the road to the podium may be a little delayed. We look forward to the Canada Day Games galvanizing our collective pride by celebrating some favourite summer activities while continuing to stand behind our Olympic hopefuls.” — Iain Nairn, president, Hudson’s Bay.

David Brown