2022 Winner


Truly Helps


BronzeChallenger Strategy

Canac is an independent Quebecois chain of hardware stores that has left its mark over the years thanks to its local hardware store oriented spirit, and low prices. Canac competes against some of the biggest hardware retailers, like RONA (LOWES) and Home Depot. For example, LOWES has a marketing budget almost 4 times higher than Canac. To attract and maintain customers, Canac must constantly maintain its reputation and generate strong brand preference.

For several years now, hardware brands, including Canac, have been relying on comedy as a way to distinguish themselves. RONA and Home Depot have recently gotten well-known Quebecois comedians to be their spokespersons. During the pandemic, some tones were considered less appropriate than others, and Canac sought to adapt to the changing situation. A shift was necessary to respect the state of mind of the people Canac was reaching out to, but also to stand out from other hardware stores in Québec.

The challenge: make Canac’s promise “Help, for real” a reality beyond its service, and low prices.

The opportunity: make this promise incarnate, and demonstrate concretely how Canac provides real help beyond its great service, and low prices. Canac already supports dozens of causes in the markets where it is established, but it does not actively communicate this fact. During the pandemic, where needs are more urgent, Canac could do more than simply donate funds to help causes that are dear to its customers.

Canac decided to literally build sets to host advertising campaigns for the causes it supports.

Beyond being a set for advertising, it was actual real pieces that the organization could use to improve its facilities and community services.

Canac lent a helping hand to local non-profit organizations by providing them with new functional sets and advertising. For each organization they helped, Canac built a new room (a kitchen, bathroom, an outdoor play area) according to the organization’s needs. The TV campaigns show 15 seconds where Canac builds and gives the set to a non-profit organization; the following 15 seconds shows the completed set, has the organization speak about their mission, and encourages viewers to give generously.

The TV campaign was supported by various content on social media, showing the sets being built and the completed sets for each of the organizations. Content explaining each organization’s social missions and how they are supported by Canac was also included.

Media purchases also provided real help, as subsequent broadcasting was tailored to the target audiences of each of the organizations supported by Canac. This form of altruism needed special planning for each of the organizations, as they needed to reach different local audiences. The slogan “Help, for real” had to go all the way. The strategy was tedious and atypical, but nothing great is easily achieved!

Canac exceeded its objectives, and 2021 was a record year for sales. The fact they had an outstanding media strategy that highlighted their altruistic values, at the height of the pandemic, undeniably provided real help. As a result, 54% of Quebecers say that Canac is the preferred hardware store, showing an increase of 4% from the previous year. These numbers place Canac as the most popular hardware store in Québec, well ahead of RONA (14%) and Home Depot (11%). Furthermore, 42% of people who saw the advertisement said they intended to go to Canac for their next hardware purchases. Despite their modest budget, Canac
was able to stand out on the market.

Competitors now have to develop pricing strategies depending if a Canac is nearby
to be able to attract consumers!

Longer videos showing the sets being built for the non-profit organizations, published on the Canac Facebook page, generated 6 times more engagement than the average video typically generates on Canac’s page.

Beyond that, the non-profit organizations who were helped and featured, doubled their accommodation capacity, and received 4 to 7 times the amount of donations they normally receive. We can say that Canac has succeeded in its goal of helping, for real.


Client : Canac - Patrick Delisle, directeur marketing
Creation : Camille Gagnon, Jean Lafrenière
Strategy : Christine Larouche
Contenu : Louis-Étienne Dionne, Valérie Bédard, Jean Lafrenière, Béatrice Lachance
Account Manager : Isabelle Miville, Catherine Gagnon, Maude Richard
Agency Production : Simon L Dubé
Realisation : Nicolas Brassard-Asselin
House of production / Production : Nova Film - Charles Gaudreau, Camille Perras
Photograph Director : Vincent Masse
Post-production : Nova Film / Studio Élément
Sound Studio / ingenierie : Studio Circonfex - Pierre-Hugues Rondeau
Graphic Production (Numérique) : Marie-Ève Roussy, Salomé Labarre
Medias : Médialliance - Marielle Ruelland, Sylvie Sauvageau, Soukaina Karmouche"

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