Canadian Tire's "The Canadian Way" - Digital Catalogue

Events, Seasonal and Short-Term (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited
Rosie Riolino-Serpa (AVP of Digital Marketing & Gift Cards)
Shawn Farmer (AVP of Digital Operations & Delivery)
Vito Casalinuovo (Manager of Digital Experience)

Agency Credits: DDB Canada
Tribal Worldwide, a division of DDB
Mara Binudin (Associate Creative Director)
Benson Ngo (Art Director), Dmitry Zelikman, Tracy Wan & Santiago Fernandez-Concha (Copy Writers)
Yuki Hayashi & Jennifer Krissilas (Editorial Writers)
John Thai (Design Director)
Josiah Bilagot, Mirza Sakovic, Jean Lou Renoux & Barry Lachapelle (Designers)
Joe Dee (Director of Technology)
Dale McRae, Daniel Wiseman, Tony Di Ciero (Information Architect)
Paul Jara (Creative Technologist)
Paul Sham, Stephen Hobson & Brad Carson (Interactive Developers)
Enzo Licata (Experience Assurance)
Gaetano Carpino & Bonnie Chung (Senior Producer)
Chris Webden, Caroline Clarke & Neem BaHa (Producers)
Catherine Kim (Director of Production), Elizabeth Fitzpatrick (Associate Producer)
Andrew McCartney (Managing Director), Dino Demopoulos (VP, Strategy & Innovation)
Parker Mason (Social Media Planner), Kaezad Nallaseth (VP, Business Unit Director)
Nick Pigott (Account Director), Monica Bialobrzeski (Account Executive)
Media Agency: Mediacom
Chris O'Hara (Group Account Director)
Andrew Tziatis (Associate Account Director)
Apollo Studios, Audio Z, RMW Music
Ole Clear, Talent Payment Services ULC, Hames TSE Photography
Brought to you by, Sons and Daughters Productions Inc., Jigsaw Casting Ltd.
Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc., Blizzard Courier Services Ltd.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):April 2013 - September 2013
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: April 2013
Base Period as a Benchmark: N/A. The product did not exist before the campaign

a) Overall Assessment

For over 90 years, Canadian Tire has been the brand helping Canadians with the jobs and joys of life in Canada.[Crossover note 1]. With more than 90% of Canadians living within 15 minutes of a Canadian Tire retail location, it had established itself as THE destination for everyday needs & wants from coast to coast. [Crossover note 2]


But recently, external factors had begun to erode the iconic position this brand once held.


Largely due to the increasing costs of printing & postage fees, Canadian Tire made the decision to phase out its much-loved seasonal catalogue, in 2007. The catalogue had been delivered to homes twice a year for 9 decades ­– and in doing so had earned a place with in the hearts and minds of Canadian families for generations. What was once delivered to 6 million homes across Canada was suddenly and quietly no more.


During the same period, digital advances had been helping to grow circulation of Canadian Tire’s other mainstay publication: the Canadian Tire flyer. By 2012, the flyer (and its digital version) had grown to a national circulation of more than 11 million.


Sales data indicated that the increasing prominence of the flyer had a direct impact on store traffic. Deeper analysis indicated that the flyer specifically drove sales around the 3-day weekend (Friday-Sunday) and that it was heavily reliant on discounting.


Full-priced items and “big ticket” products, which had been historically promoted via the catalogue, were taking a hit. With the catalogue no longer in circulation, store traffic during the other 4 days of the week slowed. Increasingly so, Canadian Tire was becoming reliant on the functional/sales driven weekend flyer.


The loss of the catalogue & increasing prevelance of the flyer was altering Canadian Tire’s sales model and equally as important, how Canadians felt about this historic brand. Canadian Tire Retail (CTR) was losing its emotional connection with their consumers; shoppers continued to spend on their functional needs, however Canadian’s began turning elsewhere when looking for inspirational items. The result was stagnating sales growth; Canadian Tire Retail had failed to hit their targets of 3-5% annual sales growth between 2010 and 2012. [Crossover note 3].



*see footnote


To continue to grow, Canadian Tire knew they had to re-connect with their customers on an emotional level, not just a functional one. So we set out on the monumental journey to change the way an entire country views one of its oldest brands – to be seen not simply as a place for necessities, but also inspiration.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

For the campaign to be considered a success, CTR wanted to improve online engagement metrics. The following KPIs were established at the onset of the campaign:

  • An average time spent on site of 1 minute
  • An average of 10 pages viewed per session.

Through improved engagement, the hope was that sales would follow suit. This meant than an  overall lift in store sales during the 2013 spring period was also a key objective.

c) Annual Media Budget
$1 - $2 million

d) Geographic Area
National (Canada)

• Revenue by banner chart was provided via the Canadian Tire Corporation 2013 Annual report.

a) Analysis and Insight

Today, new companies like Target highlight a change in the way retailers related to consumers, creating strong connections that position them as inspirers. To breakthrough differentiation within the marketplace was going to be key to their success. Traditional retail catalogues and magazines have long portrayed contrived scenarios of idealized people and fake situations. Rather than follow the norm, Canadian Tirewe chose to re-connect with consumers in a much more authentic way. A way that would celebrate the beauty, history and complexity of Canada and make them feel proud of their identity. [Crossover note 7] After all, that was at the root of Canadian Tire’s brand essence: helping Canadians make the most of the jobs and joys of life in Canada. [Crossover note 1] 

b) Communication Strategy

At the heart of their CTR’s brand promise had been the Canadian Tire catalogue. A piece of Canadiana since it was first published, it was pored over by weekend warriors and die-hard DIYers for decades. What made it special was its authentic reflection of Canada’s unique and wonderful way of life.


Although, no longer financially feasible in its traditional form, we saw a huge opportunity to re-connect emotionally with Canadians by re-inventing the Canadian Tire catalogue.


In a digital world where several brands are constantly fighting for consumers’ attention, Canadian Tire chose to shy away from artificial images preferred by most competitors’ catalogues. Instead we wanted to ground our project in real Canadian experiences and insights. To show that Canadian Tire recognizes and honours what it means to be Canadian, we called it “The Canadian Way”. [Crossover note 20]


The Canadian Way is more than a reinvention of a catalogue; it’s a representation and celebration of Canadian life. Updated every season, it’s a living and evolving entity, providing information and ideas to inspire the Canadian Way of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It’s the only catalogue powered by real Canadians, telling their stories with sincerity and passion. And only Canadian Tire had the history and identity to own this territory.

a) Media Used

Digital Media

  • Rich Media banner ads
  • Video Pre-roll
  • Targeted Standard banner ads


Client Owned Channels

  • Banners on
  • Canadian Tire email
  • Catalogue content shared via Facebook and Twitter

b) Creative Discussion

At the core of the campaign was the digital catalogue experience. Developed in HTML5, we created a tablet-friendly, low-bandwidth and full-browser digital catalogue that features inspiring editorial content, interactive videos and engaging experiences.


Using social media, we reached out to Canadians and collected stories from across the country. Through editorials and interactive videos and experiences, we featured real Canadians and their passions, showing how Canadian Tire helps them do the things they love.


When it launched, “The Canadian Way of Spring” catalogue featured 60 pages and 300 Canadian Tire products, with details, prices and links to for all of them.

featured 300 Canadian Tire products that we’re accessible to everyone, everywhere.



While watching a short film about a family of Italian immigrants whose passion for baking has been passed down through generations, our audience can pause and learn about the products being used. 


A Toronto-based woodworker with a unique take on modern furniture. 



An urban gardener and blogger from Laval who shares her love of fresh produce. 



Visitors can interact with and explore the latest BBQs, blenders, mixers and more, while discovering inspiring ideas and recipes submitted by Canadians.


Through their stories, customers shape the digital catalogue. It’s a living and breathing entity, updated seasonally and celebrating the Canadian Way of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Only Canadian Tire can own the authentically Canadian space and by celebrating their Canadian identity, they’re connecting with consumers on a much more emotional level.

c) Media Discussion

Paid awareness for “The Canadian Way” was driven by a national digital media campaign which ran for 6 weeks shortly after the catalogue launched. 



Traffuc driving standard units encouraged Canadians to get inspired by visiting Canadian Tire's re-invented catalogue. 



Inspirational catalogue content and imagery was re-purposed in Rich Media and Video units to appeal to our target on an emotional level.  






Canadian Tire also heavily leveraged its owned channels, to promote the launch of “The Canadian Way”. is the most visited retail brand site in Canada, and the homepage featured prominent messaging for 2 weeks during the campaign. The launch of the catalogue was also promoted via a dedicated email to the subscriber database of more than 1 million people. 


a) Sales/Share Results

Response to the catalogue greatly exceeded our targets. In the first 6 months, 4 million catalogue pages were viewed. On average, Canadians flipped through 15 pages and spent 6 minutes on the site – more than twice that of 36% of visitors have returned to the catalogue on more than one occasion. Most importantly, the Canadian Way of Spring helped Canadian Tire have their best sales period in their entire 92-year history, reflecting a 2.9% sales growth compared to 2013.  




b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

Q2 2013 Investors Fact Sheet. CanadianTire Corporation, Limited
• All dollar figures are rounded and expressed in millions except per share amounts. For financial definitions and ratios, refer to the Glossary of Terms on pages 124-127 of the Company’s 2012 Annual Report, and to Section 8.3 in the Q2, 2013 MD&A

a) General Discussion

Turning a big ship takes time


In the 90 years that they’ve been operating, Canadian Tire has succeeded in positioning themselves as the destination for Canadians’ needs. Changing an entire country’s perceptions of one of our oldest retailers is a huge endeavor, and we knew that starting out. By providing seasonal updates and supporting media throughout the year, we will continue to spread awareness and shift national perception. [Crossover note 13] 

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

Media spend was low for a national campaign with the objective of shifting a well-established perception.


The total production costs were $1.335MM, which is a conservative level when taking into account the various elements included (website development, including product integration with then existing platform, video production, user experience design for 60 pages of content, production of media assets and more).

Distribution Changes:

Canadian Tire Retail added 1 retail location to their network in 2013.

Unusual Promotional Activity:

No unusual promotional activity.

Other Potential Causes:

There are no other potential sources of business change.