IGA and Sid Lee are back for the holidays

IGA’s signature holiday ad has taken on a number of guises over its six-year history, but this year’s execution feels a bit long in the tooth.

‘That’s because its star is a crotchety beaver who refuses to share his holiday yule log with the other animals in the forest—at least, until he has an epiphany about the joys of sharing.

Once again developed by Sid Lee, with 3D animation by Tonic DNA and sound by Cironflex, “Mr. Beaver’s Yule Log,” is a holiday fable that contains a moral—life is better when it’s shared with others—and underscores the vital role that food plays in bringing people together

The full 90-second spot alternates between shots of a grandfather regaling his two grandchildren with the tale of the titular beaver, juxtaposed with shots of the beaver and his friends. Some of the images change in real time as the children express their wishes for what they want to hear in the story: The beaver abruptly starts wearing glasses, for example, while one of the animals changes from an owl into a panda.

The IGA holiday spot has become one of Sid Lee’s signature campaigns over the years, with the agency’s creative teams all vying for a chance to work on the assignment. This year’s idea, by the team of Quentin Fachon, Simon Caspar and Krissi Campbell, was one of about 50 put forward this year.

“The Christmas tale has held a significant place in the hearts of the agency’s artisans for many years now,” said Jonathan Lavoie, creative and innovation director with Sid Lee. “It’s an occasion for our entire team to get together and have fun. More than ever, the notion of sharing is essential, and we wanted to bring it to the forefront through storytelling.”

While the spot is clearly an awareness play for IGA during a key sales period for grocery retail, the brand has increasingly come to regard it as something of a present for consumers during the festive period.

The spot typically debuts in mid-November, but is launching earlier this year because of a new fundraising component that brings the yule log central to the story to life. Available in-store, “The Yule Log of Generosity” is available through a donation to the Quebec charity La Guignolée, which supports families in need. About 3,500 of the logs are available until Nov. 29.

The spot is running on TV in Quebec and New Brunswick until Dec. 30, and well as online in English and French on IGA’s social channels and IGA.net.

Chris Powell