Canadian Tire’s ‘hip’ centenary celebration

Who: Canadian Tire, with Leo Burnett for strategy and creative; Untitled Films for production (Hubert Davis directing); Rooster, Fort York and Grayson Music group for post; Touché! and CT Digital for media.

What: “Here’s to the Next 100,” an emotive ad campaign celebrating the retailer’s 100th anniversary and its role in the daily lives of Canadians. It follows a spot featuring some of its greatest advertising “hits,” including “Bike Story” and “Albert,” that was aired early this year.

When & Where: The campaign launched March 7 and is running through April 17 across broadcast, connected TV and online. The retailer also recently ran a full-page newspaper ad (right).

Why: Natasha Dagenais, senior vice-president, head of account management at Leo Burnett, said the ask from Canadian Tire was simple: Create something that would celebrate the spirit of Canadian Tire, its dedication to families and communities, and a history of being there for Canadians. It’s also about sharing a vision for the next 100 years with consumers.

How: The English video ad is soundtracked by a cover of The Tragically Hip song “Ahead By a Century” performed by the children’s choir Young Voices Toronto (which has led to equal amounts of delight and consternation among the band’s fans). The French spot features an original song by 2Frères called “Voir Grand.”

Both versions of the spot open on a young girl helping a younger boy up onto a tree branch, reflecting the song’s opening lyrics “First thing we climb a tree, and maybe then we talk.” The girl is holding another symbol of Canadiana, a maple leaf.

She lets go of the leaf and, in Forrest Gump fashion, the spot follows the leaf as it is carried by the wind past a diverse group of Canadians using items from Canadian Tire—gardening tools, road hockey equipment, etc.—in their everyday life, culminating in a shot of newcomers to Canada being welcomed by their neighbours.

The Tragically Hip also announced Thursday that they are partnering with Canadian Tire to “raise money and empower girls across the country to be proud leaders in sports.” Later next month, it will unveil a catalogue of exclusive signed memorabilia available to Canadians through an online contest and auction.

And we quote: “A century is long enough to see an entire country change,” said Dagenais. “When Canadian Tire started, Canada didn’t even have a national anthem. They’re as much a part of the fabric of this country as hockey or snow. But 100 years can also be a beginning. A stake in the ground to glance back at, as they look ahead to the next century and continuing to improve the lives of Canadians.”


Chris Powell