Real Canadian Superstore celebrates diversity in people and food

New ad campaign features actual shoppers from all different ethnicities and backgrounds

Real Canadian Superstore is attempting to change the traditional portrayal of Canada’s food and its people in an advertising campaign launched this week. That means less maple syrup and peameal bacon, and more hot pot and halo-halo.

According to the Loblaw Companies Ltd. banner, the goal of the campaign is to create a “true reflection” of Canada, while simultaneously reinforcing Real Canadian Superstore as a place where foods from all cultures can be found and all are welcome.

The TV and out-of-home campaign features actual Real Canadian Superstore shoppers and employees from various ethnicities and backgrounds. The brand and its agency partner, Vancouver’s One Twenty Three West, also worked to ensure the emphasis on diversity extended to the creative process.

“We were intentional in our inclusiveness in the making of the work, not just the end result that customers see on TV or social media,” said Shelley Tangney, senior director, brand marketing and strategy at Loblaw Companies Ltd. “We made sure to have diversity, including BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, differently-abled and more in the entire process, from internal and agency creative directors to production crew, to photographers, artists, music, cultural advisors, and talent.”

The company worked with advisors including Lea Mackenzie, principal at LNM Indigenous Consulting; former Alberta MP (and long-time Indigenous rights champion) Dr. Wilton Littlechild; and multicultural Toronto agency Monsoon to ensure the work was culturally sensitive.

Tangney said the campaign represented a “permanent shift” in how the brand presented itself to consumers. “It isn’t about a social trend or climate, but about recognizing and embracing something imperative; that representation matters,” she said. “To ensure that no one is invisible, Real Canadian Superstore is focusing on a deeper level of customer centricity, a new and more relevant approach to celebrating food, and a more holistic representation of our offering.”

The campaign is highlighted by a 60-second anthem spot that celebrates Canadians from various ethnicities, as well as the foods they eat. It starts with a shot on President’s Choice maple syrup, with a voiceover saying, “maple syrup, we love you…but Canada is way more.”

It then goes on to show the many ways that Canadians eat, from dim sum for breakfast and a bologna sandwich for dinner, to hot pot, kimchi, perogies, tapsilog and tea in multiple forms. The spot closes on the same bottle of maple syrup, except it’s being poured on the Filipino frozen dessert halo-halo.

All of the broadcast ads have been translated into English, Hindi, Cantonese, Mandarin and Tagalog, and will run on multicultural media outlets as well as traditional media. The video ads are being complemented by billboards running in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and throughout Ontario that feature 10 real Canadians of different ages, backgrounds, genders and abilities and the various items from Real Canadian Superstore in their grocery cart.

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