Why Loblaw made a 30-minute TV show for President’s Choice

Who: Loblaw’s President’s Choice brand, with Dentsu for media and Sid Lee for TV ad creative.

What: Home for the Holidays: Presented by President’s Choice, a 30-minute TV show featuring Canadian celebrities from the worlds of sports and music in a cozy living room setting, talking about food and the holidays while enjoying various PC products.

Which celebrities: Olympic ice dancer (and Canadian marketers’ favourite spokeperson) Tessa Virtue, who acts as host; NHLers Max Domi and Wayne Simmonds; Canadian NBA star Jamal Murray and his father Roger; Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse; singer and performer Jully Black and Arkells frontman Max Kerman; along with a few others joining briefly by video chat.

When & Where: The show debuted on Rogers Media-owned Citytv Tuesday night, and will air each night through Sunday on either Citytv, Sportsnet One or Sportsnet 360.

Why: “It’s part of a bigger marketing effort for the holidays for PC,” said Cheryl Grishkewich, vice-president marketing for President’s Choice. The full-funnel PC Christmas campaign kicked off Nov. 12 with product advertising on TV and digital channels, “but we wanted to do the 30-minute special just to truly bring some joy to the season,” she said.

Even in a difficult year, food shared with friends and family is a source of joy and celebration. President’s Choice wants to be a part of those moments, and the TV show was developed as a recognizable representation of those experiences—a way to spread more joy “presented by President’s Choice.”

How: The conceit for the show is a traditional Christmas house party, with friends hanging out, chatting and enjoying some good food (prepared in the background by a professional chef). The guests talk about the challenges of the last year, holiday traditions and, of course, favourite foods.

“I think the topics that they were discussing are really meaningful to people this year,” said Grishkewich. “They talked a lot about food memories and… they talked about what the holidays mean to each for them.” Aside from sharing PC products in the show, the ad breaks were all for PC products—10 in total.

Beyond the show: The campaign includes about 100 pieces of content, ranging from recipes and PC product how-tos, to stories about PC products and full-length TV ads, said Grishkewich. Most of the content lives online at the PC Insiders Report, but it’s also being cut and repurposed in various ways and pushed out through highly targeted digital channels, including paid media and via Loblaw’s owned and operated properties. “We’re trying to surround customers at the right time with the right product story and the right inspiration,” she said.

The COVID elephant in the room: This gets tackled right off the top, with Virtue explaining that no masks are necessary because everyone had been tested twice in the week before. “So needless to say, we’re safe. Let’s just have some fun,” she says.

And we quote: “What we’ve seen with our customers over the course of this very challenging year, is that they reach out to PC to feel joy through food. And we thought what better way to give back to Canadians than a program that really celebrates the joy of the season.” — Cheryl Grishkewich, vice-president marketing, President’s Choice.

David Brown