Loblaws gets emotional in holiday advertising

Two-minute spot follows a typical Canadian family as they gather for holidays year after year

Loblaws is taking inspiration from U.K. retailers like John Lewis and Morrisons with an ambitious holiday-themed ad spanning several decades in the life of a typical Canadian family.

The cinematic spot, “At the Heart of Your Holidays,” follows the family as they gather for their holiday meal year after year. As the camera pans around a table laden with turkey, mashed potatoes, etc., it captures family interactions and moments of whimsy, such as a young boy pulling a Christmas cracker with his sister.

The dialogue-free spot also features some poignant moments, such as an empty chair signifying an absent grandfather. As the video continues, we see the young children grow up and bring their own partners to dinner, and eventually have children of their own.

“We thought it was important to tell as real a story as we could,” says Wes Brown, vice-president, brand marketing for Loblaws in Toronto. “As time marches on, you go through these generational changes where you go from being a kid at the table to hosting, and there are people that come and go through the natural progression of life.”

The two-minute spot concludes with the message “Families grow. Traditions keep us together” before listing the stores operating under the Loblaws banner including Loblaws, Zehrs, Provigo and Independent City Market.

The spot is running on Loblaws-owned media channels, while the company is also using six-second teaser ads on social media to drive people to its website.

While the video spot is intended to appeal to consumers’ hearts, Loblaws is also working to appeal to customers’ wallets with an accompanying month-long promotion called “Your December Deals.”

The promotion features a new special every day during the month, such as $1 for a Betty Crocker cake mix or frosting on Dec. 5 and $1 for a 168g pack of Black Diamond Cheese Strings on Dec. 19.

Brown says the company drew inspiration from the splashy holiday-themed ads created by U.K. retailers like John Lewis and Morrisons, which generate considerable attention whenever they debut.

READ: The battle of British Christmas adverts begins

“There are a lot of great food purveyors across the pond, and they treat Christmas like we treat the Super Bowl over here,” he says. “We definitely took inspiration from what they do, but the balance of emotion and rationale is the right way to market versus over-indexing on one or the other.”

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