2022 Winner

St. John's Board of Trade

Don’t Get Dieppe’d


GoldCreative Catalyst

The objective of St. John’s Board of Trade (SJBOT) was simple: remind residents in St. John’s Newfoundland to ‘shop local’. By mid-2021, retailers had been through the wringer. After ducking pandemic hits for a year, local shops were in survival mode. A shopping bump would keep the lights on and inject funds
into a struggling economy.

It was easier said than done. How do you convince consumers to ‘shop local’ in the age of Amazon Prime? It’s a daunting challenge at the best of times. The City’s local shops long ago lost ground to the smiley brown box. And, with just 112,000 residents, there wasn’t an endless supply of new customers.

Worse still, COVID-19 turbo-boosted the online shopping trend. Confined to home, consumers flocked to online juggernauts like Amazon to buy everything from toilet paper to holiday gifts. Soaring e-commerce sales made it clear: a permanent shift in behaviour was afoot. And that spelled trouble for local shops, no longer top-of-mind. It would take a Herculean effort to jolt consumers from their online trance. But with loosening pandemic restrictions, the SJBOT couldn’t afford not to. The City desperately needed a slice of post-pandemic pie. Pent-up demand offered a chance to get back on track. But how could they get their attention?

‘Shop local’ rallying cries rarely break through. Besides their ‘wallpaper’ quality, they lack consumer relevance. With economic-focused messaging, it’s like the consumer doesn’t exist. Philanthropic appeals weren’t going to cut it. Why would consumers change behaviour without a tangible benefit?

Solid strategic thinking uncovered the ace up their sleeve. See, around here, online shopping has an Achilles heel. The kink in the hose is a place called Dieppe. Located 1,500 kilometres away, this New Brunswick city is the last mainland scan point for shipments to the island of Newfoundland. And any Newfoundlander will
tell it to you straight: “Dieppe is where packages go to die.”

Dubbed “The Bermuda Triangle of Packages”, Dieppe is a notorious black hole for shipments. As one resident put it, “Dieppe is like Hotel California. If your package arrives there, it may never leave.”

Forget that Newfoundland’s an island in the North Atlantic. Or that it’s fierce weather is known the world over. Blizzards and hurricanes? No match for Dieppe! Package a no-show? Just one place to blame.
Cue the eyeroll: Dieppe!

Newfoundlanders’ inside joke provided fodder for a solid consumer insight. Because if you shop locally, you can avoid the Dieppe vortex altogether. Dieppe was a foil that highlighted an undeniable benefit:
local shopping is hassle-free.

Tapping into the Dieppe joke not only made strategic sense. It also meant they could communicate creatively with relevance. Using cheeky humour, the SJBOT could land a punch to online shopping competitors with a giggle and wink. The agency knew “Don’t Get Dieppe’d. Get Local.” was language any Newfoundlander would understand. Plus, verb-ifying Dieppe gave it a hilarious, cuss-like quality that would gain instant attention,
a first step in behavioural change.

With laser precision, they intercepted key online shopping periods from August to December 2021. During back-to-school shopping, “Don’t Get Dieppe’d. Get Local.” wild postings were placed in high traffic locations with punchy lines like “Get the book before the movie comes out”.

SJBOT members extended the campaign with window posters, stickers, and reusable bags.

Engaging social and digital display ads shifted residents to micro-site to close the loop. To break through during critical holiday online shopping, ‘Dieppe Carolers’ appeared in local parks and malls, and went door to door with ‘Dieppe’d’ versions of carols like Away in a Manger:

“Jeff Bezos said it would arrive just on time
But Dieppe’s much stronger than Amazon Prime.
Now my nan will get nothing I hope she don’t cry
At the rate this is going
We’ll have Christmas in July.”

They captured video for social media and produced 0:60s versions for local radio and programmatic audio. A social media and display ad campaign reminded consumers with headlines like “Get your ugly
sweater before the party’s over.”

The campaign was a major hit, creating intense buzz among St. John’s residents. As a testament to its traction, it even earned a 5-minute interview on local news, CBC’s Here & Now, unheard of in this market. Plus, with more than 97,000 video views on social media, it was the most shared in SJBOT's history. With 1.05 million ad impressions, 1,570 ad clicks, and robust CTR of 0.21% (31% higher than the benchmark of 0.16%), proving the breakthrough power of the campaign.

Creative Catalyst Strategic Planner: Noel O’Dea
Creative Director: TJ Arch, Jason Hill
Art Director: Jason Hill, Amanda Blackwood
Writer: TJ Arch, Dave Sullivan, Justina Elias, Joel Felker
Designer: Luisa Bojacá
Director of Account Management: Catherine Kelly
Senior Account Manager: Natalie Lemire

For submission inquiries, please contact Clare O'Brien at cobrien@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.