IGA may be the early front runner for one of the top Canadian Christmas ads of the year with a sweetly heartwarming, richly animated love story.
Unlike a lot of retailer ads at this time of year, the IGA's spot has almost nothing to do with its stores or how the brand can help busy shoppers during the frantic holiday season.
Instead, the two-minute long TV ad is simply a story of young love with a girl and boy meeting in the school yard and becoming best friends over the contents of their school lunch boxes day after day. Eventually the little girls moves away, and the boy is heartbroken, but since it’s a Christmas ad, there’s a fairytale happy ending thanks to a little help from Santa.
The underlying marketing strategy is to simply show consumers an entertaining story that revolves around shared meals.
It includes lots of food shots—from sandwiches and bananas, to sushi, tacos and spaghetti—but the food is secondary to the endearing story of the two kids, and it’s only revealed as an IGA ad with the closing message: “IGA, sharing is everything.”
The Sobeys owned Quebec chain will also donate $1 to La Tablée des Chefs each time it is shared on social media. La Tablée des Chefs, is a not for profit that teaches kids about nutrition and donates food to people in need.
IGA calls the ad a “gift” to its customers, and it’s the second year in a row IGA has run a two-minute animated commercial. Last year the story was about a young boy who develops a love of cooking after first making cookies for Santa Claus.
“Last year, we created a story that conveyed a passion for cooking, which is one of the brand’s values. This year, we wanted to focus on discovering food and sharing,” said Carl Pichette, vice-president, marketing at Sobeys.
“It’s like a nice, little love story between two food lovers. We really wanted to showcase children’s curiosity and openness in order to inspire people on Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year too,” added Alexis Caron-Côté, one of the employees at Sid Lee, the advertising agency that created the ad.