How did we create London Drugs’ most watched video ever, in the middle of a pandemic? We just asked Canadians to help.
When London Drugs asked me to help refresh their Proudly Canadian brand program in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic’s first wave, it was a welcome challenge. Having worked on their Canadian program in 2018, as well as being constantly on the lookout for local sustainable products, I knew we had a strong base of brands to tell the story with. But how could we build creative momentum with everyone working from home in their wool socks?
What is ‘Canadian’, anyway?
Our first task was to review a portfolio of brands for their ‘Canadian-ness’, assessing factors such as corporate ownership, design headquarters, manufacturing and ingredients. We researched online and sent direct inquiries to brand reps and owners, tabulating a list of amazing brands and qualifications across categories.
Next, we reached out to these brands for their stories and perceptions on Canadian identity and opportunity. But we had no way to send out a video crew, gather footage, and tell the story in the traditional manner. So we asked the brands themselves to be our production crew.
We started with a video outline, which helped us create a list of questions, video shots and other guidelines for our far-flung cinematographers. Once the footage started rolling in to the shared Dropbox, we had to adapt our story line to include the best unexpected moments and reflect as much brand diversity as possible.
The final piece of the puzzle was London Drugs President and CEO Clint Mahlman, recording his message in LD’s studio, bringing it all together with his genuine honesty and authenticity.
Once the video was complete, we used it to headline a series of blog articles written for each of the brands and rolled out over the pandemic summer of 2020.
There have been entire books and blogs written to try and answer this question. For #ProudlyCanadian, I believe it was a combination of factors, including a genuine message focused on storytelling ahead of sales, a strong push from LD’s social marketing team and a pandemic focusing our collective attention inward.
But it really came down to Canadians supporting our own. Every brand in the video proudly shared the story on their social channels. Friends, family and co-workers passed it on. People saw their friends, neighbours and local entrepreneurs reflected in our examples, and collectively got behind them.
What is #ProudlyCanadian? We all are.