Real Canadian Superstore celebrates the country’s diversity

Who: Real Canadian Superstore and One Twenty Three West, with Toronto multicultural agency Monsoon, and Citizen Relations.

What: A new brand platform celebrating the diversity of both Canada’s populace and its food. It also includes an evolution of the brand’s design system to be more “modern, bold and energetic.”

When & Where: The campaign launched this week, led by a 60-second TV spot and two 30-second versions. In addition to English, the ads are running in Hindi, Cantonese, Mandarin and Tagalog. The broadcast component is being supported by a big out-of-home push in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and across Ontario (below).

Who (II): The campaign was overseen by Shelley Tangney, senior director of brand marketing and strategy, Loblaw Companies Limited. Tangney moved over to Real Canadian Superstore from its sister banner No Frills, where she was responsible for the first iteration of the discount brand’s ongoing “Haulers” platform.

“She’s one of those clients who, when she takes on a brand, naturally wants to reposition [it] and make an impact on the market,” said Mo Bofill, One Twenty Three West’s partner, creative director, design. “She and her team had big ambitions to really make an impact and change how Real Canadian Superstore was seen as a brand.”

The platform has been in development since October, with One Twenty Three West and Real Canadian Superstore enlisting the support of diversity experts including Lea Mackenzie, principal at LNM Indigenous Consulting, former Alberta MP ( and a prime figure in the global Indigenous rights movement) Dr. Wilton Littlechild, and Toronto multicultural agency Monsoon to ensure that the resulting creative was culturally sensitive.

Why: The goal is to reinforce Real Canadian Superstore’s brand appeal, while ensuring its marketing is representative of its diverse customer base and the wide variety of food it carries.

Tangney said the new platform, which includes Real Canadian Superstore shoppers from various ethnicities, represents a “permanent shift” in how the brand goes to market.

“It isn’t about a social trend or climate, but about recognizing and embracing something imperative: That representation matters,” she said. “To ensure that no one is invisible, Real Canadian Superstore is focusing on a deeper level of customer centricity, a new and more relevant approach to celebrating food, and a more holistic representation of our offering.”

“The best type of [marketing] brings a brand’s DNA to life,” added Bofill. “And the DNA of Real Canadian Superstore—almost like a variety store for every Canadian—was never really brought to life in an authentic way.

“My background is Filipino, so when [the creative team] proposed [popular Filipino dessert] halo-halo and tapsilog in the script, I was like ‘I haven’t seen my culture’s food represented at all in any mainstream media,’ so I felt seen.”

How: The 60-second anchor spot “Super Food Anthem” opens on a shot of a quintessentially Canadian food item, maple syrup, with a voiceover saying “maple syrup, we love you. But Canada is way more.” The spot then highlights an eclectic array of Canadian food preferences, from butter chicken pizza and dim sum for breakfast, to halo-halo. “This is the food we all love, and you can find it all here,” says the voiceover.

The out-of-home component, meanwhile, features 10 different Canadians of different ages, backgrounds, genders and abilities accompanied by some of the grocery items from Real Canadian Superstore that can be found in their cart.

The campaign is also being supported by a contest running on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok called “#Supermusthave,” which invites Canadians to share their must-have items from Real Canadian Superstore. It is being supported by 10 influencers from across the country who are creating content promoting both Real Canadian Superstore and the contest.

“Their diverse backgrounds, professions and life experiences in Canada will provide a unique array of perspectives on the Canadian food experience that brings the narrative to life in a way that is authentic to their lifestyle and social presence,” said Real Canadian Superstore in a release.

Finally, every design element for Real Canadian Superstore was reimagined to better reflect the brand, said Bofill. The new design system signals a “new, modern, digital-friendly brand that was big, bold and playful,” she said.

Diversity in production, too: The brand’s emphasis on diversity also extends to its production partners and music. One Twenty Three West enlisted photographers Wade Hudson and Vicky Lam, while the 60-second spot features the song “Stadium Pow Wow” by Ottawa’s The Halluci Nation, and the 30-second videos feature Toronto-based hip hop artist Charmaine and Tyson Kuteyi.

And we quote: “Canadian food has a reputation for being undefinable. But in a way, that’s what makes it unique: Canadian food is incredible because it’s so diverse… Superstore has such a huge diversity of product, there’s something for everyone. As a brand, they truly do represent everybody and this campaign puts a spotlight on that.”Mia Thomsett, creative director, One Twenty Three West

Chris Powell