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When merchandise migrates

A growing number of global brands are looking for shelf space in Canada

North America attracted generations of Europeans with promises of riches and success. Today, it possesses a similar allure for the continent’s leading consumer brands.

The past year alone has seen consumer packaged goods giant Unilever bring two of its most successful European brands across the Atlantic.

The first, Magnum ice cream bars, arrived in Canada last spring, with some celebrity endorsement in the form of Ivanka Trump (pictured). Simple, a 42-year-old U.K. skin-care brand, followed earlier this year.

Sharon MacLeod, vice-president of marketing for Unilever Canada in Toronto, says these trans-Atlantic brand launches are becoming increasingly commonplace in the new era of globalization.

“When there are brands that people love, it often transcends borders. Dove is a great example of a brand that people love all over the world.”

Other examples of successful European brands now making it to Canada include Belvita biscuits from Kraft, which are being launched here this summer.

Then there’s Mustela, a baby-care brand. To stand out from the crowd, Mustela has used the tagline “No. 1 baby care brand in Europe” in its Canadian advertising.

Oru Mohiuddin, an analyst with Euromonitor in England, says North America’s affluent population makes it a particularly attractive market for companies to export successful Euro brands.

“It’s a market where can not only generate more in volume, but can also set a higher margin and add premium lines to these brands and generate additional revenues,” she says.

Both Magnum and Simple arrived in North America with sterling reputations, which likely didn’t hurt their ability to garner shelf space.

Magnum is seen as an adventurous, exotic ice cream, Mohiuddin says, while Simple offers a mass-market, organic solu- tion in premium skin-care, a segment that tends to be controlled by niche players.

If European brands are able to translate their success in North America, there’s a good chance that the United Nations approach to the grocery business will continue.

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