Hudson’s Bay celebrates Canadians’ ‘Homeiversary’

Who: Hudson’s Bay, with Momentum for creative and Steam Films (directed by Goh Iromoto).

What: “Homeiversary,” a campaign aimed at making the retailer top-of-mind among consumers thinking about purchases for the home. It comes almost exactly one year after Canadians first began hunkering down inside their home to ride out the pandemic. It is Momentum’s first work for the retailer since winning the business in December.

The campaign fits under the retail brand’s “Live a colourful life” positioning introduced last year. “[W]e are tapping into a moment to show that despite the year we’ve had, we still believe you can ‘Live a colourful life’ at home,” said Jaclyn Sutton, Hudson’s Bay’s vice-president of integrated marketing. “We believe that all Canadians should surround themselves with what they love, from people, to fashion, to beauty, to stylish and quality products for their homes.” (In addition to changing agencies, December also saw the departure of the company’s CMO Meghan Nameth. She is now senior VP of marketing at Loblaw Companies Ltd.)

When & Where: The campaign broke this week, with a 60-second anchor spot and a :30 running across broadcast, complemented by three 15-second ads, digital banners and social posts.

Why: Canadians tend to associate Hudson’s Bay with fashion, but the goal here is to emphasize the retailer’s credentials in home goods, said Sutton. The timing is perfect, with people spending more than ever on home goods as a result of being cooped up at home for 12 months and staring at the same furniture, the same decor, glassware, etc.

According to a December report from statistics aggregator Statista, year-over-year sales for home items such as appliances, electronics, building and DIY materials were up 625% over the prior year, while sales for furniture and home decor increased 336%.

“One of the most significant consumer shifts we have seen at Hudson’s Bay is in our home category, as more and more Canadians are investing in elevating every room in their house—from new cookware or appliances for creating meals together, bed linens and blankets to create warmth and comfort, and office furniture to upgrade work from home spaces,” said Sutton.

How: The 60-second anchor spot, called “Back to the start,” strikes an emotional tone without using either dialogue or voiceover.

Over a simple piano refrain, the ad plays backwards from a woman tearfully opening a picture frame and replaying some of the many slice-of-life moments at home during the pandemic—from the challenges of remote work, to giving haircuts, to the stresses and strains that come with people being cooped up together for extended periods. Midway through the spot, a moment of childish high-jinx leads to a picture frame being accidentally broken.

There’s no overt Hudson’s Bay branding until the end, when the retailer’s iconic striped blanket appears in the foreground of a wide shot of a family gathered together in a (beautifully appointed) living room.

Momentum’s executive creative director Raul Garcia said that the spot is an attempt to capture the changing meaning of both home and the people within it over the past year. “The reverse approach really originated from a misdirect,” he said. “To tell a story of the past year of quarantine, many would immediately think we’re telling a story of sadness, but when it comes to fruition, you realize the tears are of appreciation for what we were able to overcome. It’s also a natural leaping off point to lead us into a series of flashbacks from the past year to help convey the story.”

And we quote: “Our homes and the people within them took on extra roles over the last year. They became offices, coffee shops and classrooms, while many of us became teachers, baristas and tech support,” said Garcia. “We wanted to capture this chaotic existence, and remind people to take a moment to step back, take a deep breath, and honour the people and places that helped us get through such an unusual year.” —  Raul Garcia, executive creative director, Momentum

Chris Powell