Winter in Canada is really cold. As such, Canadians have to equip themselves with an array of products to help them cope. Marketers fighting for a share of the “winter-is-cold” market have the additional challenges of: convincing consumers to loosen the purse string during the holiday season, and to reach out to consumers who are bombarded with a multitude of “winter-is-cold” type offers.
In December 2013, Canadian Tire’s challenge was to demonstrate the unique selling proposition of the MotoMaster Eliminator™ car & truck battery a battery that will start in Canada's coldest temperatures. It’s one of many products featured as part of the “Tested for Life” programme. Each product is tested by a panel of Canadian Tire consumers to ensure it can withstand the rigors of everyday life in Canada. Typically car and truck batteries are very low priority products that never enter the conversation of Canadian consumers – TouchePHD! was about to change that.
The consumer insight was that Life doesn't stop in Canada when it gets cold outside, and neither should the products they rely on… Therefore, the communication strategy was to be as extreme as Canadian winters are! During the winter time in Canada, at night the temperature can often dip as low as -40° Celsius.
Since the invention of the automobile, Canadians have been frustrated by a vehicle unwilling to start at the most inopportune times. Long-term exposure to extreme cold conditions has left many motorists stranded in parking lots, chasing a bus, or calling in to work sick. A-hem!
Canadians often describe their cars and trucks as being “cold as ice” – so Canadian Tire decided to put that literally to the test. To position the MotoMaster Eliminator™ batteries in the mind of consumers as having the most cold-cranking capability, the strategy was to push to limit of the “Tested for life in Canada” campaign and challenge itself to create the ultimate cold-resistance test. TouchePHD! answered this challenge with a “the medium is the message” approach.
To demonstrate the cold cranking capability of the battery Canadian Tire used it to start and power a one-of-kind, fully functioning truck made of ice, 15,000 lbs. of it! On December 12, 2013 the Canadian Tire Ice Truck attempted to set a World Record for being the first, self-propelled ice creation to drive. Not only did the Ice Truck drive but it travelled 1.6 kilometers in its record setting attempt. Now, that is truly tested for life in Canada.
The Ice Truck was revealed to Canadians two weeks leading to the NHL Winter Classic event by releasing footage teasing Canadians online. The images drew everyone to engage with the campaign. It documented the construction, testing and finally the World Record - one impressive attempt - results still pending.... BUT DID GET CREDIT FROM RIPLEY'S - drive of the Ice Truck.
The brand implemented a content dissemination strategy that was just as impressive as the content itself, gathering experts of all disciplines – display, social, search, PR - and creating a consumer-centric content strategy. The agency created partnerships with both Google, Facebook and local websites. It even reacted to weather and increased the advertising budget during the coldest days.
The campaign culminated with a TV ad with the Ice Truck taking center-stage in the NHL Winter Classic. The programme achieved record breaking audiences; and as the only NHL game played on an outside ice rink; it was the perfect pedestal to launch the Ice Truck in mass media.
The campaign gained PR and social media attention in Canada, Australia, Germany, USA, the UK and beyond, including The New York Times, CNN, The Daily Mail, The London Times, Fast Company, PSFK, TrendHunter, ViralNova, AdWeek, Fox News and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Canadian media included: Globe and Mail , CBC, Sun Media, National Post,, Discovery Channel, Yahoo!, MSN, CTV, Hello! Canada Magazine, Marketing Magazine & the Toronto Star - 80% lead with a Canadian Tire mention and directly embeds the YouTube videos, linking the brand directly with the idea of serious innovation. Sample headlines: "Canadian Tire ice truck redefines cold weather driving”, "Canadian Tire Ice truck makes bid to shatter world record" and "How Cold is it in Canada? Canadian Tire Built a Truck out of Ice!" Key message pull through that truck was built to showcase the battery performance in winter; more than 75% of the coverage clearly notes it as the reason for the project.
Free impressions to date: 80,779,116
Canadian coverage: 35,946,633
International coverage: 45,534,683 (total Canadian population is 33 million).
One World Record bid – Driving 1.6km in a truck made out of ice, acknowledged by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.