Canadian Tire’s name is a misnomer. Yes, the mass marketer sells tires, but its retail product lines are much more expansive, ranging from cleaning supplies, to home furnishings, to electronics, to clothing. The 90-year-old company claims to know “life in Canada better than anyone else,” as it serves its namesake nation from coast-to-coast through almost 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets.
So, with much of the country covered in snow, Canadian Tire’s marketing agency, Tribal Worldwide, created a promotional campaign that has resonated across Canada: “Shovel-It-Forward.” Apparently it’s customary among Canadians to shovel a neighbor’s driveway as an act of kindness. Canadian Tire’s campaign capitalized on this custom by encouraging all compatriots to do the same, as the campaign’s main ad illustrates.
In addition, teams from Canadian Tire did some of their own digging: They “went to neighborhoods in the seven Canadian cities that were hardest-hit by snow and shoveled a total of 84 driveways, leaving Canadian-Tire-branded shovels on each stoop with stickers that encouraged residents to shovel their neighbors’ driveways, and then pass the shovels on. The stickers on the shovels also prompted people to visit the campaign’s website: ShovelItForward.ca"
Has Canadian Tire’s shoveling strategy been effective marketing? It’s hard to know without seeing trackable results; however, one can speculate that the campaign has created considerable goodwill for the company, based on social media and other news coverage. Furthermore, one shouldn’t forget that Canadian Tire sell snow shovels—a relevant and timely promotional tie-in.
The Shovel-It-Forward campaign also certainly supports societal values. Our world will be a better place if more people undertake similar small yet significant acts of kindness. Benevolence breeds benevolence. In sum, Canadian Tire can be commended for its “Mindful Marketing.”