President's Choice

Packaged Goods--Food/Other (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Loblaw Company Ltd
Allan Lindsay - VP, Brand Marketing & Marketing Services
Ryan Brown - Senior Director, Brand Marketing
Guylaine Lessard - Senior Director of Marketing, Strategic Content
Uwe Stueckmann - Senior VP, Marketing
Trinh Tham - Senior Director, Brand Marketing

Agency Credits: Bensimon Byrne Inc.
David Rosenberg - Chief Creative Officer
John McDougall - Associate Creative Director
Janice Boduch - VP Group Account Director
James Grant - VP Group Account Director
Charlotte Osborne - Account Director
Michelle Pilling - Director of Production Services


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):January 2011 – December 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: February 2011
Base Period as a Benchmark: January 2010 – December 2010

a) Overall Assessment

Almost 30 years ago, the President’s Choice® brand was launched by Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) and it transformed the control label category in Canada. By introducing consumers to new tastes from around the world and by giving them top quality, innovative products at exceptional value, the President’s Choice® brand became Canada’s largest brand. In addition to introducing hundreds of new food products each year, over time the brand expanded to other categories including home and financial services. The President’s Choice® brand has remained the leader in control brand food products, offering a unique point-of-difference vs. the other grocery chains. However, over the years, competitors chased and copied relentlessly, and growth became more challenging. With competitors clearly nipping at the heels of the President’s Choice® brand, it became increasingly important to bolster the brand and ensure they remained the leader in the control brand category.

A new, sustainable brand building campaign was required that would re-engage consumers and further increase their excitement and commitment  to the brand again, and drive continued success in sales and increased positive Brand Perceptions. It needed to continue to inspire consumers the way the President’s Choice® brand always had but on a broader (not just food-related) basis and, ultimately, spur sales growth.

In 2007 the “Chairman Campaign” featuring company chairman Galen Weston as spokesperson debuted. It initially focused on corporate social responsibility messages with specific President’s Choice® Brand products as proof points. The campaign was a hit; the trust and likability of Galen quickly translated into increased sales as documented in the 2009 Cassies case submission.

While this campaign was successful, two-years of increased messaging from competitive control brands and the largest national brands made our task even more challenging. The campaign needed to evolve to not only sustain the success of the “Chairman Campaign”, but now focus on products and innovation – the core of the President’s Choice® brand. [Crossover Note 14] This would require a shift in focus back to the heartbeat of the brand: innovative, and affordable great taste experiences and trust.[Crossover Note 1]

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Accelerate store traffic and sales of the President’s Choice® brand and drive continued brand health growth after the extremely successful re-launch of the brand (the initial debut of the Galen campaign).

c) Annual Media Budget
Over $5 million

d) Geographic Area
French and English Canada

a) Analysis and Insight

The President’s Choice® brand was generating the kind of buzz that was engaging consumers with the brand. People had grown to know, trust and genuinely like Galen Weston. He cared about them and cared about the world we live in. And while the re-launch of the brand was extremely successful (as outlined in the 2009 Cassie’s submission), nobody could ignore the fact that at the heart of the company’s heritage was food. [Crossover Note 2] For almost 30 years the President’s Choice® brand had brought new taste experiences and food innovation to people across Canada. Competitors were still trying to chip away at market share by copying or introducing their own control brands similar to the President’s Choice® brand. The brand could not sit back and assume that the current successful campaign was the only way forward. It was time to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.

b) Communication Strategy

The President’s Choice® brand had a long history of using a spokesperson touting great food offerings. Back in the 80s, then-president Dave Nichol, an early ‘foodie’, endeared himself and the brand to many Canadians by being an advocate for them… bringing them tastes from around the world that were affordable. From the first time Nichol appeared on television touting the innovative things that only the President’s Choice® brand could bring you, a precedent of food innovation was set. These ads were so effective that Nichol’s name continued to come up occasionally in consumer research, even though he left the company over 15 years ago.

Reflecting on this time in the company’s history, it was hard to ignore the fact that the DNA of the brand was entrenched in food. Galen had been extremely successful sharing his company’s values, and acting as an advocate for consumers by bringing them products they could feel good about. But the question became: how do we go back to the roots of what the President’s Choice® brand is all about (food), while still maintaining the success we had achieved putting the Chairman on air?

a) Media Used

The Media support for the campaign generally consisted of short bursts (approx. 4 weeks) of TV; however, during the important holiday and summer periods, flights were longer (six - eight weeks), and there were multiple spots.

b) Creative Discussion

The new creative approach had to allow for Galen to move from communicating the company’s social responsibility values to spots that were more food-centric. He would need to sell anything from cheesecake to the latest frozen entrée. Because food products were now the focus, it might have been an option to move away from Galen and use another kind of personality, for example, a chef. [Crossover Note 15] But Galen had a natural ability to communicate, and all indicators (tracking results, articles, sales) were proving that he was an extremely successful spokesperson for the company. Research clearly told us that Canadians found him trustworthy and likable. Given how passionate Galen was about the company’s stance on social responsibility and how well the public received those messages, we felt that he could be every bit as genuine and credible speaking to the food attributes of the brand.

One of the biggest challenges we faced was to avoid sparking the negative comparisons to Nichol given his strong legacy. The ads had to use Galen’s greatest asset - his authenticity.  On camera he truly was himself and spoke based on personal experience and opinion. He came across as genuine and not a typical pitchman.

From the first time we put Galen on camera, it was clear he was a natural in terms of performance. In fact, it was his natural reactions with actors in the cast that ultimately formed the basis of what became our creative evolution. Earlier iterations of the campaign followed a more typical process … the idea was to show Galen hosting a party, but the party would consist of actors, not real people, and deliver the required scripted idea.  But it quickly became apparent that the real magic happened when Galen was simply himself, talking to the party attendees as he would to any guest in real life. From there, the idea of creating entirely real pop-up parties came to fruition. All new TV spots would now be shot live in various locations around Toronto, and capture Galen interacting with real people, in real time. Hundreds of ordinary citizens got to try out the newest President’s Choice® brand products while meeting and talking with Galen. Scripts were still developed, but now used only as guides, as we knew that once the camera was on his natural charm and understated charisma was our biggest and most successful asset in getting people excited about our latest product. And in fact it was the unscripted moments that truly brought the spots to life.

To-date there has been over 70 President’s Choice® brand TV spots (English and French) featuring Galen.







c) Media Discussion

Over the years, the campaign has evolved to become fully integrated with in-store signage, activation tours across the Country (2011 and 2012 Summer BBQ Tour) and on Facebook. While the event concept is integrated across all channels, there is selective usage of Galen across the various elements of communication in order to manage his exposure and extend the longevity of the campaign.

a) Sales/Share Results

1. Accelerated Sales Growth - Total sales of the President’s Choice® brand have increased year over year since the Galen campaign debuted, with the most significant growth from 2010 to 2011.

For such a large brand, this level of growth represents a significant contribution to the company’s overall performance. 


2. Growing Brand Health vs Competitors – the President’s Choice® brand is quickly closing the gap on the country’s leading National Brand (packaged good) competitor, with 6 points Brand Health growth vs. 1 point for the leading National Brand. And the President’s Choice brand is now ranked #2, ahead of all other National Brands tracked, from 2009 to 2011 (based on Ipsos Grocery Brand Health Study 2011).

 2010-2011 Brand Health Growth


3. Increase Brand Equity Scores – the President’s Choice® brand scored higher on all brand equity measures from 2010 to 2011 (based on Ipsos Grocery Brand Health Study 2011) and continues to score well above Ipsos norms (92-108).



4. The President’s Choice® brand has become one of the most valued brands in Canada, as evidenced by two recent polls:

The President’s Choice® brand.® One of the Most Influential Brands in Canada

Nov 23 - Nov 30 2011

Ipsos asked Canadians to rate 100 Leading brands. Data revealed Six Dimensions which defined influence and determined the most influential brands in the lives of Canadians. The Six Dimensions of influence are: Trustworthy, Relevant, Presence, Corporate Citizenship and Engagement. For a brand to succeed it has to have some measure of all these factors.

The President’s Choice® brand was ranked 3rd after Microsoft and Google – ahead of Apple, Walmart, CBC, Facebook, Visa and AirMiles.


President’s Choice® brand One of Consumers top 10 Brand picks

Jan 2012

A recent Ipsos Reid online survey asked 1,013 adults to assess 100 brands on the basis of whether they considered each a trendsetter, unique, innovative or ahead of its time. Each respondent was exposed to 10 brands and a battery of 14 statements (among a series of other statements). Respondents were asked to "please select all the brands that you feel apply to each statement". The President’s Choice® brand was ranked 7th among all brands in this survey on innovation - the only Canadian brand ranking higher was Cirque de Soleil:

1) Apple, 2) Google, 3) Ikea, 4) Microsoft, 5) Cirque de Soleil, 6) Coke, 7) President’s Choice®, 8) Tim Hortons, 9) YouTube, 10) Sony

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

Research confirms that the Galen Weston campaign increased propensity to purchase the President’s Choice® brand products, as well as increased consumers’ interest in the brand. In addition, scores overwhelmingly show that Galen is extremely well-liked as a spokesperson for The President’s Choice® Brand (even in Quebec, where his efforts to speak French continues to be noticed and appreciated).


Every ad tested (and virtually every single ad was tested) drove motivation to buy the brand at levels significantly above norm. In fact, levels were typically so much higher than the IPSOS norm, that Loblaw developed a higher ‘President’s Choice® Norm’ to make the comparisons more challenging.


Appeal of Galen Weston as Spokesperson

A poll conducted in 2011 for Chivas Regal found that Galen Weston is Canada’s top gentleman. What do they mean by ‘gentleman?’ Respondents reported ‘integrity’ to be the quality that is most indicative of a true gentleman, followed by ‘honour,’ ‘loyalty’ and ‘generosity.’ Compared to some of Canada’s other modern day gentlemen, Galen Weston scored higher than Sidney Crosby, Michael Bublé and Ryan Reynolds.

 After five years, and over 70 ads, Galen continues to resonate as a spokesperson as these recent Tweets suggest:

June 3, 2011:            

Courtney Wilson: @xicanti Mmmmm I adore anything THE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® BRAND® makes. But that could just be because I have a crush on Galen Weston Jr


May 31, 2011:

Jill Dunn: Damn you Galen Weston Jr. and your power of persuasion. The THE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® BRAND® Decadent ice cream sandwiches are sooooooooooo tasty


May 19, 2011:

Marcus Jeffrey: I love Galen Weston. I'd switch to THE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® BRAND® based on his in-ad performance alone.


March 24, 2011:

Christina: think that if you buy enough THE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® BRAND® products that galen weston will personally thank you? #wishfulthinking #singlehandedlykeepingTHE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® BRAND®inbusiness


Alexandra Savilo: Just opened her fridge to find that over 50% of the stuff in it is THE PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® BRAND® blue label. Clearly, Galen Weston, your ads work :P


March 19, 2011:

Sonya Noronha: That awk moment when your friend asks why there are so many The President’s Choice® Brandads feat. Galen Weston on your youtubes "Recommended for You"


March 15, 2011:

Katie :): I wish I was at union station when galen weston was giving out greek yogurt :(


November 3, 2011:

Galen Weston is on my TV...Xmas is coming.


November 7, 2011:

I have a sincere love for president's choice commercials! Galen Weston seems so personable!


November 9, 2011:

Dear Galen Weston, stop making such delicious presidents choice desserts on my tv, I can't handle it. Sincerely, I want everything.


November 14, 2011:

Saw my first Galen Weston president's choice Christmas commercial. I love that man #ilovecutenerds


December 5, 2011:

Just saw the new Presidents Choice/ Galen Weston commercial. Delightful way to usher in the holiday season. #swoon


December 9, 2011:

Damn you, Galen Weston. Now I want lollipop shrimp.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:



 Pricing strategy/details are not shared publicly.

Distribution Changes:

Loblaw already had wide spread distribution, no significant changes.

Unusual Promotional Activity:

Typical, consistent with the previous year, similar ongoing in-store event efforts. 

Other Potential Causes:

 Typical, consistent with the previous year.