Scene+ delivers a simple message about rewards

Who: Scene+, with Rethink for strategy and creative; Radke Films for production (directed by Ian Schwartz)’ Nimiopere and Alter Ego for post-production; Eggplant for audio; and PHD for media.

What: “Ordinary purchases, extraordinary rewards,” a new campaign showing the big rewards that can come from small purchases with the loyalty program, which is jointly operated by Scotiabank, grocery retailer Empire, and Cineplex.

When & Where: The campaign launched Oct. 9, with a 60-second spot running on TV and in Cineplex theatres (along with a 30-second version for broadcast), as well as online video, social/digital, and out-of-home.

Why: Scene+ only launched in late 2021, through the combination of Cineplex’s original Scene card and Scotiabank’s Scotia Rewards program, followed a few months later by the addition of Empire, parent company of Sobeys.

Following those big changes, Rethink was asked to show how Scene+ had expanded and grown far beyond its origins as a movie program with Cineplex.

“Now in its second year, we had the opportunity to speak to the program at a higher level, telling a more singular story that demonstrates the value you can get out of Scene+ when paired with a Scotiabank payment card,” said Loretta Lau, group creative director, Rethink.

According to Rethink, loyalty program advertising often shows what users get with their points, but rarely show what it takes to earn them. “The brief this year was to further build comprehension of Scene+ in a way that simplifies the complex world of loyalty programs,” said Lau.

How: The campaign is anchored by the minute-long ad showing a family enjoying a seaside vacation near Lisbon, where they pay for everything with carrots.

The odd transactions take place in a wide range of settings, without any explanation until the ad jumps to the closing scene in a grocery store checkout, where the mom is buying carrots. “Scene+?” asks the employee, and only then—with a closeup of mom tapping her Scotiabank Scene Visa card—is the message delivered: buying everyday items like carrots can convert into big rewards, like family vacations.

“[It] shows Canadians that one of the most basic purchases—a carrot—can take them further than they thought possible,” said Lau.

“Our aim is to use a straightforward metaphor to show the simplicity of the Scene+ program,” added Candice Troupe, Scene+’s vice-president of marketing, in a release. Canadians love loyalty programs, but their popularity means more options from a growing number of brands.

“The trouble is, with so many earn opportunities… the landscape becomes overly confusing and frustrating,” she said. “That’s why the creative idea needed to be easy to understand.”

The music: The spot is soundtracked by a catchy, highly distinctive tune that feels certain to break through and stay with viewers—an earworm in a good way (assuming they don’t overdo the media buy).

“We sent our music partners, The Eggplant, on a wild hunt for a track that felt authentic to the region we shot,” said Lau. They came back with “Fon Fon Fon,” a pop hit in Portugal by a band that gives traditional Fado music a modern twist.

“We had to re-record the song for the spot, so The Eggplant went out and found us a local Portuguese singer performing at a Fado night here in Toronto,” said Lau. “She was familiar with and a fan of the song already, which felt full circle.”

The client(s): While Troupe is the lead marketer for Scene+, the program is run by three very different and very big brands each, presumably, with their own ideas and suggestions.

So how does that work?

“Since we are all working towards the same goal, it’s very much a collaborative process between Scene+, Scotiabank, Empire, and Cineplex,” said Lau. “Each brand is involved in the process from start to finish, with the ability to provide their own feedback and work together to provide the best outcome for the Scene+ brand as a whole.”

David Brown