IGA is back with holiday ad ‘The Meatloaf’

They would do anything for love. But they won’t eat that. At least, that’s the premise of “The Meatloaf,” the latest ad in IGA and Sid Lee’s charming holiday campaign

Previous spots in the animated series have told the story of a young girl and her distant grandfather bonding over their love of hockey; a young girl making increasingly elaborate treats for a young cancer patient; and two youngsters sharing the contents of their school lunch boxes.

The focus of this year’s spot is on beloved Auntie Lulu’s meatloaf, with which she treats/tortures her extended family year after year. Diminutive of stature yet large of glasses, Auntie Lulu shows up every Christmas bearing a meatloaf in a classic Corningware dish.

But while Aunti Lulu’s annual meatloaf might be made with love, it’s not necessarily made with skill. That leads her family to devise increasingly elaborate ways to distract her so they can surreptitiously feed it to the undiscerning family dog, Léon.

It goes on like this for years, but the spot is tinged with sadness when we learn that Aunt Lulu isn’t at this year’s celebration. The family is committed to keeping the tradition alive, however, and that means shopping at IGA for the ingredients needed to make her meatloaf together and then choking it down for old times sake.

It may be unusual for a holiday ad to feature with a storyline about death, but Sid Lee’s executive creative director, Alex Bernier, said the key takeaway is that it’s a story about a family choosing to cherish its culinary traditions.

“The focus is on honouring someone we love,” he said. “Even when changes occur, it’s a testament to how those core memories live on through time.”

The IGA holiday spot is a highly coveted assignment among Sid Lee staffers, attracting more than 40 submissions this year. “The idea of having a recipe that’s passed on from generation to generation re-appears each year, but what caught our eye was the added element of showcasing a distinctively gross meal that the family eats only in the name of love,” said Bernier.

The winning idea was developed by the creative team of Quentin Fachon and Francis Levesque, working alongside other creatives, account and strategy collaborators. “It’s truly a team effort,” said Bernier. The spot was created with the 3D animation studio Tonic DNA, with Circonflex for audio and Carat for media.

Chris Powell