2021 Winner

London Drugs

Cards For All


GoldMulticultural Strategy

London Drugs is a Western Canadian retailer that competes against goliaths of the category who have a far bigger online presence and marketing budgets.

The agency realized early on that attempting to compete with the retail giants by focusing communications on the traditional drivers of ‘value’ (price, convenience and product range) alone, would be ineffective in driving differentiation and brand preference. Due to the sheer size of the competition, they are in a position to easily out-price London Drugs. London Drugs, a locally-owned Western Canadian retailer, had an opportunity to differentiate themselves and foster an emotional connection with their customers.

In light of emerging drivers of relevance such as social and environmental responsibility, and London Drugs’ deep commitment to supporting the communities they serve, a new strategic brand approach was established. From late 2019 onwards, the brand would be re-focused around achieving values-based differentiation. Valentine’s Day was one of the first opportunities in the cultural calendar to demonstrate this.

The Valentine’s Day greeting card aisle typically represent hetero-normative relationships and do not reflect the diversity that exists in Western Canada. London Drugs launched an inclusive Valentine’s Day card collection with 31 unique cards made to reflect modern, real-life relationships and the diverse communities they serve.

The Cards for All initiative was a new program for London Drugs that launched on February 7, 2020. The collection was made up of 31 unique card designs that were made for everyone to share love regardless of their sexual orientation, language, or the makeup of their relationship. There were cards for LGBTQ+, as well as cards for platonic relationships like for a co-worker or adopted child. There were also designs in Chinese, Farsi, Punjabi, Tagalog and Salish, common languages in Western Canada outside of English and French. Cards were even offered in Braille.

The cards were sold in 20 London Drugs stores across Western Canada with most in British Columbia, which prides itself as one of the most diverse provinces in Canada. All proceeds went to United Way, one of London Drugs’ charity partners that helps marginalized groups in local communities.

The key to the success of this campaign was showing up for the target audience in an authentic and credible way. It was important for London Drugs to not just say they support diversity and inclusion, but to demonstrate it. They worked with Canadian illustrators who designed cards for the community they were a part of. Each card design was a visual expression tailored to that relationship, culture or form of love and was informed by the designer. With a connecting colour palette, the collection was made up of individual cards that each had their own story and authentically spoke to the community and artist, but overall felt in family.

The agency’s designers were also influential in reaching the communities that the cards were designed for, sharing the initiative and the stories behind their designs on their social media channels. Their stories, and the process they went through in coming up with the card design, became an integral part of the story for the media, lending credibility to the connection between London Drugs and the communities they serve. A number of designers were interviewed for print, radio and TV, across all four Western Canadian provinces. The PR push focused on local publications, and designers from those cities were put forward to speak to the media.

The Cards for All campaign was picked up by 116 publications across Canada and generated over 26.4 million earned media impressions in just one week. Press pickup was just as diverse as the cards themselves. Digital-first publications referred to the initiative as a “Super-Woke Collection of Valentine's Cards” and “cliche-breaking” and traditional media talked about how this was a first for some seeing “a big-box store to sell inclusive cards”.
The program garnered significant free media coverage and helped increase greeting card sales for London Drugs in a category that saw industry wide market share declines. The pilot was so successful that London Drugs expanded the collection to include new cards sold in every London Drugs store for Valentine’s Day 2021.

Chief Creative Officer: Aaron Starkman
Creative Director: Morgan Tierney, Leia Rogers
Art Director: Jake Gauthier
Writer: Greg Kieltyka
Print Producer: April Haffenden, Claire Khan
Photographer: Eric Arnold
Strategist (Mandatory): Darren Yada
Studio Artist / Typographer: Jonathan Cesar, Jan Day, Steve Holme
Printer: Light Visions Ltd.
Account Services: Steph Hurl
Client: Jillian Brock
Illustrators: Jake Gauthier, Charmaine Cheng, Liana Mascagni, Shona Massey, Karla Monterrosa, Ty Dale, Carson Ting, Cristian Fowlie, Sandeep Johal, Paige Bowman, Wade Janzen, Nomi Chi, Izzy Gibson, James Mackenzie, Hiller Goodspeed, Cam Spires, Dosh Osholowu, Katie So, Pamela Rounis, Alice Clair, Samantha Smith, Mustaali Raj, Caerina Abrenica, Dariush Ghaderi, Zachary George, Alex Bakker

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.