Schitt’s Creek stars deliver ‘A Call to Joy’ for Hudson’s Bay Christmas campaign

Who: Hudson’s Bay and FCB, with Cossette for media.

What: “A Call to Joy,” the iconic Canadian retailer’s Christmas marketing campaign, starring Schitt’s Creek stars Annie Murphy and Catherine O’Hara.

When & Where: The launch ad is running on broadcast and digital in 60-, 30- and 15-second versions. There’s also a new Christmas gift-giving vertical on the Hudson’s Bay’s website (more below).

Why: In a year where the holidays “may feel a little different,” Hudson’s Bay is happily calling for people to celebrate the special moments of togetherness and to embrace the festive spirit. That Christmas call-to-action is “A Call to Joy.” It dovetails with the “Live a Colourful Life” brand platform launched in the spring, which HBC describes as a life “full of feeling, thoughtfulness and style.”

The Christmas campaign is built around the two Canadian TV stars, both still wrapped in the afterglow of Schitt’s Creek‘s recent record-breaking Emmys performance. “We wanted to work with Catherine and Annie to reflect the direction of our brand,” said Allison Litzinger, vice-president marketing, brand, customer and loyalty.

“Their killer style, Canadian roots and cultural relevance were key factors to support our Live a Colourful Life brand platform. Additionally, their humour and great chemistry helped us achieve our goal of bringing a sense of optimism and joy to this year’s holiday season.”

The “Now more than ever” score: A solid 8.

How: TV creative features the two stars on idyllic, Christmas-y sets, talking about how ready they are for the holidays and calling on those who make Christmas special, like “deck the hall-ers,” the “fah-la-la-la-la-ers,” and the “Merry Modernistas.” The last is a reference to the campaign’s underlying ecommerce strategy.

What is a Merry Modernista? Hudson’s Bay has launched what it is calling its “first-ever Holiday hub,” a digital storefront of sorts that presents gift-giving ideas around five personas/categories, one of which is a Merry Modernista. “Going into a Holiday season unlike any other, and with consumer behaviour changing so rapidly, we know not everyone is going to celebrate in the same way,” said Litzinger. “These personas allowed us to categorize by consumer mindset and lifestyle across our assortment to be more relevant.”

The five personas are:

  • The “Holiday Traditionalist” is for those who like “holiday nostalgia,” from decorating the home to baking for friends and family;
  • The “Festive Flaunter” includes luxe gifts of “glitz and glamour,” including fashion and home decor;
  • The “Merry Modernista” is fashion, “modern home essentials” and beauty.
  • The “Yuletide Uniter” is for those looking for ways to “make memories with fun for the whole family, from games to matching pajamas.”
  • The “Holiday Hibernator” is for those who care most about being cozy, from blankets and soft sweaters to “warm seasonal treats.”

The ecommerce factor: “More than 90% of consumers say they will shop more online this season, with 88% saying they will do online research before going into a store,” said Litzinger. “With this shift, the role of online needs to help fulfill the inspiration that consumers typically look for in bricks and mortar shopping. The personas help create this online inspiration around our product assortment and encourage browsing behaviour.”

Quote: “We know that Canadians need some optimism and joy as we head into the holiday season. We took the time to understand the customer mindset—what they are prioritizing, what they are craving, and what matters most to them. Our hope is that having two Canadian fan favourites deliver some lighthearted humour, paired with the nostalgia of our windows and meaningful gift ideas, will help to make this holiday season shine brighter.” — Meghan Nameth, chief marketing officer, Hudson’s Bay.

David Brown