What branded #Canada150 celebrations have taught us about the Canadian consumer in 2017

July 13, 2017

You’d have to be an unearthed potato to not have heard about the significance of this year’s Canadian Birthday. A whopping 150 years since our great nation officially came together through Confederation. Feels just like yesterday though, am I right? In addition to the regular hurrah of birthday cake and balloons, many brands and Canadian companies have caught the spirit of celebration and commemorated this historical occasion with their own (branded) stamp. It’s been a good year to be Canadian – and the branded celebrations in the spotlight share many similar themes that reveal the habits, preferences, and behaviours of Canadian consumers in 2017. While these themes certainly hold true in 2017, we have a sneaking suspicion that they’ll continue to hold relevance moving into the next 150.

Canadians enjoy each other’s company.

Togetherness: the act of coming together with family, friends and the like has been an incredibly pervasive theme throughout the marketing blitz of #Canada150. Reunions – with or without potato sack races and balancing an egg on a spoon– are clearly in fashion, and many have been planned with the help of Canadian brands. Canadian pasta company Catelli (who also turned 150 this year) celebrated their joint birthday by offering Canadians the chance to win an incredible and luxurious family reunion hosted by a celebrity chef. As well, President’s Choice launched an emotional campaign that encouraged consumers to use their products to “#EatTogether”. Or TD Bank’s #TDCommonGround project, an initiative celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday that will invest in the future of community green spaces by revitalizing over 150 of them across the country.

Canadians are nice.

…and we’re often teased as such. Whether it’s “polite nice”, “funny nice” or the more politically charged “disruptive nice” – whatever your definition, Canadians have a general reputation for being overall good people. And instead of poking fun, Canadian clothing company Roots took this stereotype and flipped it upside down – launching a campaign and video to celebrate “Canada’s Nicest Person”.

Ahh, memories. Canadians are super nostalgic.

Everyone loves a good memory. Whether it’s bringing back old school packaging (ahem, Labatt 150) or a beloved menu item (my personal fave, Tim Hortons’ dutchie has made a short-lived return!) – many brands were on board to evoke feelings of nostalgia with their consumers as part of this national celebration. This was a great opportunity to both show their place within and celebrate their unique history within the Canadian marketplace.

Canadians need (and want) to get out more.

Canada is a big place filled with lots of beautiful people, pretty places, and exciting experiences. It’s pretty flippin’ awesome – and we all need and want to see more of it. Several Canadian brands and companies agree and have launched campaigns encouraging Canadians to get out and familiarize themselves with more of their great country. Travel incentives and messages of encouragement during Canada’s sesquicentennial have been quite abundant. Via Rail launched their #AllAboard campaign – honing in on the connectivity of rail travel in the country and offering some young Canadians steep discounts to travel from coast to coast this summer. As well, Parks Canada encouraged visits to national parks, national marine conservation areas, and national historic sites FREE this year with the launch of the coveted Discovery Pass.


Overall, I’d say that we’ve learned that being Canadian is pretty great – and has been for a while. With all of these pervasive themes and behavioural reveals, I am extremely proud to be one myself – and to work at a great Canadian company, too.