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The Canadian Tire Christmas Trail

Entered in Earned Media


In 2022, Canadian Tire (CT) launched its new brand purpose: We Are Here to Make Life in Canada Better. 2022 also marked CT’s 100th Birthday (CT100), setting the stage for the Canadian Tire Christmas Trail (Trail) to return for a third season, giving Canadians the Christmas of the Century. Born from a desire to safely bring the magic of Christmas to Canadians during the pandemic in 2020, the immersive, interactive drive-along Christmas experience returned in 2022 with a new purpose, a new look and a new strategy.

The holiday season is a key moment for all retail brands, but as CT has staked its claim as Canada’s Christmas Store, the holiday season presents a clear business need to defend this position. 2022 also presented the unique opportunity to further raise awareness of CT100 by using the Trail as the exclamation point to conclude the year-long momentous celebration, all while fighting to maintain the relevance of a drive-through experience in a post pandemic world.

Guests who attended the Trail in 2021 were invited to complete a post-event survey. The survey provided the below first-person data:

This data indicated a prevailing consumer appetite to attend the Trail, but most of all, it reaffirmed the Trail’s ability to deliver on the primary campaign objective – build overall brand affinity and defend CT’s position as Canada’s Christmas Store.

Strategy and Execution

CT developed a comprehensive earned media strategy to drive awareness of the Trail event itself, while reinforcing CT’s position as Canada’s Christmas Store leading up to and during the peak holiday season. In a post-pandemic world where the relevance of a drive-through event had potential to decrease, it was imperative that media contacts were provided with exclusive information and on-site access to enhance the potential for a high volume of quality media coverage.

CT executed the below strategic tactics to drive earned media opportunities:

New Ticketing Strategy

Embargoed Media Outreach

Media Preview Nights

Ongoing Media Outreach


The Trail achieved six consecutive weeks of ticket sell-outs due in large part to awareness generated by top tier earned media coverage. The earned media strategy and the activation itself successfully reinforced CT’s brand purpose and defended its position as Canada’s Christmas Store. This can be accurately measured based on the below media campaign performance indicators and consumer survey responses.

Build brand affinity and defend Canadian Tire’s position as Canada’s Christmas Store:

Raise awareness of CT100 while reinforcing its brand purpose of Making Life in Canada Better:

Maintain the Trail’s relevance in its third year while increasing public awareness and attendance:


Video for The Canadian Tire Christmas Trail

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd.


Entry Credits