Canadian Tire celebrates the joy of Christmas chaos

Who: Canadian Tire, with Leo Burnett, Feels Like Home for production (directed by David Hicks), with Saints Editorial, Eggplant, Fort York, Alter Ego and Transcontinental for post-production, and Touche for media.

What: The retailer’s Christmas ad campaign, which avoids typical picture-perfect depictions of Christmas to show the sometimes messy, sometimes chaotic reunions of friends and family—which is perfect after a year apart.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, running on TV with three different spots (one :30 and two :15s), and across digital and social.

Why: After Canadians were told to stay apart as much as possible in 2020, it seems almost certain that social gatherings with loved ones will be back on this year. Canadian Tire wanted to focus on that dynamic for this holiday season.

The brand messaging is that Canadian Tire is the one-stop-shop for everything from gifts to decorations and the items required to host a get-together. But as much as it can help you try to have the perfect Christmas, imperfection is fine as long you’re with loved ones again, so don’t worry about it.

How: The creative idea is to present typical Christmas moments, except things don’t go as planned—but in charming and humorous ways. The anchor :30 depicts a large Christmas Eve dinner with noisy pets, crying toddlers and rambunctious kids.

The narrator delivers a version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” that fits the chaotic scenes unfolding on screen. “Things were noisy and hectic but full of joy,” she says. “Things were getting messy, but no one seemed to care. Because this year we appreciate it all so much more.”

Other ads are less overtly about reunions after a year of social distancing, but still make light of imperfect moments—such as a boyfriend relegated to the kids table, Christmas photos gone wrong, and the messy results when kids get up before parents on Christmas morning.

“How refreshing for a retailer to dare to show the less-than-perfect side of the holidays. Amidst all the carefully crafted gingerbread and impeccably wrapped gifts that are sure to drown our screens this season,” said Kelly Zettel, creative director at Leo Burnett, in a release.

And we quote: “We love that this work takes an honest view of how Christmas actually looks for many of us. And after a year like this year, we’re all looking forward to celebrating the Christmas we missed, including all the not-so-perfect moments that often end up being the most memorable.” —Irene Daley, associate vice-president, strategic marketing, Canadian Tire Corporation.


David Brown