MotoMaster rides with James Hinchcliffe

Who: Canadian Tire, with Leo Burnet for strategy and creative; Canadian Tire Digital Media and Canadian Tire brand communications for earned media; Touché for paid media.

What: A campaign for Canadian Tire’s MotoMaster brand, promoting its new Winter Edge II tires. The work features former Toronto-born race car driver James Hinchcliffe. While he hasn’t raced in a couple of years, he’s well-known as one of Canada’s most successful motorsport athletes, a six-time IndyCar Series winner, and a well-established commercial actor, having previously appeared in ads for GoDaddy and multiple spots for Honda.

When & Where: The campaign launched this week, running across TV and online video as both a 30- and 15-second spots, accompanied by paid digital and social, search and owned support across the retailer’s email, digital flyer, organic social and website and a test drive event.

Why: Last year, Canadian Tire launched a new platform for the MotoMaster brand called “If I Only Went With MotoMaster,” which humorously depicted the potential implications of not choosing its products.

Jonathan Anderson, Canadian Tire’s associate vice-president, strategic marketing, said that the platform was conceived with the intention of delivering a “more refined brand identity and increase quality perceptions” of the brand, which has grown to include more than 1,000 products.

The goal with the new campaign is to shift the narrative from what happens if motorists don’t ride with MotoMaster, to depicting what Anderson described as “the confidence and swagger” they feel when they do. The comedic approach is designed to help MotoMaster stand out amid the performance-related narratives so common in the auto industry, and particularly in tires.

How: The 30-second lead spot opens on a family driving through snow, the car easily handling the less than ideal conditions thanks to the new Winter Edge II tire. A narrator explains that the tires will help drivers handle the roads so well, their family might think they are Hinchcliffe.

As some deep soul music kicks in, the wife actually imagines Hinchcliffe behind the wheel, which, ahem, gets her engine running. From where she’s sitting, her husband suddenly looks like Hinchliffe, causing her to let down her hair while simultaneously shooting him a come-hither look.

The kids, too, are similarly impressed, looking on agog at their father’s newfound driving prowess. The spot concludes with the woman suggestively placing her hand atop her husband’s as they pull into the driveway and he puts the car in park.

And we quote: “We knew we had the ingredients for something dynamic in our partnership with James and the long-awaited launch of the new Winter Edge II tire. We tasked Leo Burnett with bringing it all together and they drove it home.” — Jonathan Anderson, associate vice-president, strategic marketing, Canadian Tire

Chris Powell