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By The Drum | Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 6 min read

Canadian Tire needed to connect with younger Canadians and created a social media campaign that achieved great results and also scooped the Social Media awards at The Drum Awards for Media. Here is the award-winning case study.

With 100 years of history, Canadian Tire has a strong relationship with Canadians, one that has been reinforced through their loyalty programs. However, there was a clear gap among millennials specifically as only 24% of Triangle members were under the age of 39- a key growth segment for Canadian Tire.

Knowing that 83% of millennials are loyalty members, but that they didn’t represent a significant proportion of Triangle members, Canadian Tire needed to increase relevancy with this growth segment. Research shows that 78% of millennials and Gen Z prioritize experiences over ‘stuff’, Canadian Tire was faced with the task of strengthening their relationship with this core audience in new ways that had not previously been explored.

Canadian Tire has the oldest loyalty program in Canada. Most Canadian millennials remember this loyalty program for its ‘Monopoly style’ paper money. The loyalty program has since digitized into the Triangle loyalty card, but the money remains a nostalgic memory for most Millennials today. In fact, many millennials were given Canadian Tire money as allowance or did Scouts fund raising asking for Canadian Tire money.

Leveraging a distant memory in millennials minds and the iconic Canadian Tire money, the brand decided to develop a playful approach to engage this generation in a uniquely Canadian way. Leaning into the highly popular #FindMoney trend and understanding that vintage throwbacks were growing in popularity, Canadian Tire set out to create the ultimate adventure around a core pillar of their loyalty program and one of the most memorable vintage pieces in our 100-year history- that even millennials could identify…our iconic Canadian Tire Money!

For Gen Z’ers & Millennials Tik Tok is not just a social platform, it’s the one they turn to when they’re looking for answers. Where to find limited edition vintage items? Tik Tok has your answer! When looking at previous Tik Tok trends, and reviewing the platform history, it was also clear that the content was very global focused and was missing innovative approaches when it came to localized trends.

Hence, our big idea was born: as a brand that is committed to serving individual communities and bringing them closer together as one nation, we understood the importance of marrying the millennials love of experiences and Tik Tok together and went on to create a one of a kind event to allow Canadians within local communities across the country the chance to join in on our celebration and collect their very own CT $100 Bill. A National Treasure hunt was therefore created, Canadian Tire bills were scattered across 19 major cities near landmarks that represented a moment of Canadian Tire history.

Thus, we concentrated all our investments in this environment and married the first of its kind physical treasure hunt with a social game of clue to create one of our most engaging campaigns of all time. Knowing that we needed to promote our giveaway, Tik Tok! Influencer content was posted daily and clues were provided on the Canadian Tire page to guide users to the hidden locations that strategically also tied back to a piece of Canadian Tire history such as a Jumpstart playground.

A strategy that ultimately allowed us to resonate with our millennial audience and build a human connection based off a localized approach that put a millennial twist on the “vintage” trend. Knowing that 83% of millennials participate in loyalty programs and that 78% of millennials and Gen Z prioritize experiences, Canadian Tire set out to create a unique event around a core facet of their loyalty program, their iconic CT dollar bills to help increase millennial Triangle members.

Considering millennials are interested in vintage memorabilia, value experiences and are highly present on Tik Tok, we incorporated a strategy that was the perfect blend of all four components and developed Canadian Tire’s first ever National Treasure Hunt.

The brand stayed true to the Nostalgia they were promoting all year and pulled out their most Nostalgic piece of memorabilia from the vaults, hiding 100 CT $100 bills across major Canadian cities near landmarks that represented a piece of Canadian Tire history such as the location of their very first store (Toronto), Canadian Tire Centre (Ottawa), Jumpstart Playgrounds (Whitehorse) and Olympic Village (Vancouver) to name a few.

To promote the once in a lifetime event, teaser posts were released on Canadian Tire’s Tik Tok page on September 21st revealing our plans to give back to communities by hiding $100 bills and encouraging consumers to return for more details. Then came the big launch on September 23rd, influencers were key to our strategy and delivered clues daily as to where the bills were hidden. Street teams were also available on site, ultimately ensuring that all hidden bills were found & giving Canadians the chance to relive their childhood memories and visit a CT store near them!

The campaign was a huge success, allowing us to resonate with our millennial audience-leading to an 18% increase in Triangle Reward members aged 30-39 and a 28% lift among Triangle members under 30! Canadian Tire also recorded a 9% sales lift among members under 30-years-old, outpacing the total retail sales category.

The high impact placements on Tik Tok helped to drive above norm results for a variety of key metrics, including a 14% increase in program awareness (8.7% above Tik Tok Canada Norm) and a 28% lift in ad recall (16.4% above norm), as well as 2x in awareness compared to Canadian Tire norms despite the shorter than average flight. Additionally, the event accelerated a 6000% increase in Tik Tok followers on Canadian Tire’s main channel during the campaign period and was a trending moment across Canada with over 5 million earned media impressions via popular social and news outlets covering the one-of-a-kind event!

Most importantly, we were able to maintain our longstanding support and presence in Canadian homes across local communities. By leveraging Tik Tok and creating a localized approach, we united communities across the country and allowed them to join in on our celebration as Canada’s store and once again demonstrated that we have been here for Canadians of all age brackets over the past 100 years and will continue to do so for years to come.

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