Para-Nordic skier Mark Arendz is part of a diverse group of athletes who will serve as brand ambassadors as part of Team Empire.
Empire’s Olympic dreams are getting bigger.
The parent company of Sobeys, IGA, Les Marchés Tradition, Marché Bonichoix, Rachelle Béry, Safeway, Foodland, Thrifty Foods and Voilà, has teamed up with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) to support Paralympic athletes leading into the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and beyond.
The sponsorship builds on Empire’s existing sponsorship deal with the Canadian Olympic Committee, which the retailer announced in October 2019. Empire’s first Olympics as the official grocer of the Canadian Olympic Committee—the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games—was delayed until 2021. Ahead of the Summer Games, Empire launched the Feed the Dream campaign to show support for Canada’s Olympians and emphasize the grocer’s focus on bringing families together through food.
“As part of our commitment to Canadian athletes and [our commitment to] inclusivity, it was important for us to create this partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee,” said Erika DeHaas, vice-president of marketing communications at Sobeys Inc., in an interview with Canadian Grocer. “Although [CPC] wasn’t part of our initiative for Tokyo, we were working closely with the team in parallel to bring this partnership to life.”
As part of its sponsorship of CPC, Empire is providing grocery cards to qualified athletes to redeem for nutritious food at Empire brands, helping to “fuel their rigorous training and preparation” leading up to the Games, according to the company.
In a press release, Canadian Paralympic Committee CEO Karen O’Neill said: “This important grocery card program will provide immense support to Paralympic athletes across the country on their journey to the Games and is a fantastic way to kick off our partnership.”
In early January 2022, Empire will launch a multi-channel marketing campaign running across in-store, digital, social media, out-of-home and TV. It has also signed on three Paralympic athletes as brand ambassadors: Mark Arendz from Hartsville, P.E.I., Mollie Jepsen from Vancouver and Frédérique Turgeon from Montreal. “We wanted to leverage athletes from coast to coast and ensure that we partner with athletes who share the same values that we have as a company,” said DeHaas.