Loblaw creates a TV show for the holidays

Grocer enlists the help of eight Canadian celebrities to promote the ways its President’s Choice brand can bring some joy this season

Loblaw has taken the highly unusual marketing step of creating a 30-minute TV show to help promote the ways its President’s Choice products can make the holiday season merry.

The show, “Home for the Holidays: Presented by President’s Choice,” features eight celebrities of Canadian sports and entertainment gathered together in a cozy living room setting for the kind of traditional Christmas get-together so many people enjoyed before COVID—and will enjoy again once the pandemic is under control.

The soiree is hosted by Canadian Olympic ice dancer Tessa Virtue, who welcomes Max Domi and Wayne Simmonds from the NHL, Canadian NBA star Jamal Murray and his father Roger, Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse, singer Jully Black and lead singer of the band Arkells Max Kerman.

The show debuted on Rogers-owned Citytv on Dec. 1 and ran each night through to Dec. 7 on other Rogers properties Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 360.

“Home for the Holidays” is part of a much larger marketing plan, said Cheryl Grishkewich, vice-president marketing for President’s Choice.

“Our holiday campaign is our biggest program of the entire year for PC,” she said. The brand has produced about 100 different pieces of product and brand communications and content—from TV ads, to short videos, recipes, how-tos, and product stories—but the goal for the TV show was “just truly to bring some joy to the season,” she said.

“What we've seen with our customers—over the course of this very challenging year—is that they reach out to PC to feel joy through food,” said Grishkewich.“And we thought what better way to give back to Canadians than a program that really celebrates the joy of the season.”

In the show, Virtue guides the conversation amongst the group as they sit together and talk about the holidays, family traditions and, of course, the importance of favourite foods. “There were some really meaningful topics that were discussed in the show that we believed Canadians would enjoy and find interest in,” said Grishkewich.

As they chat, a professional chef prepares a variety of President’s Choice products perfect for social gatherings. On top of that, the normal ad breaks were all PC ads that have been running on TV and other media since the second week of November.

Any concerns about COVID and the lack of social distancing are addressed right at the top of the show when Simmonds asks if they should wear a mask. Virtue explains that no masks are necessary because everyone had been tested twice in the week before. “So needless to say, we’re safe. Let’s just have some fun.”

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