See Yourself Saving: Huge Toronto & Giant Tiger


Allen Oke
Executive Creative Director Huge

Can you tell us about your role in the creation of the Giant Tiger Campaign?

I was the Executive Creative Director. I was involved in the entire process, the execution of it, the editing, and so forth. I also collaborated on the strategy for it.


Give us a quick overview of the campaign. What is it about?

I have a process where I cast a wide net, try to show things that make them comfortable and uncomfortable. All with the strategy that we had, which is just basically people are proud to shop in this place. One thing that I thought was important was to just put a mirror up and reflect in a humorous way, the everyday shopper.

We all know the people and the tropes of shoppers out there. And the brand can benefit from having a campaign that has fun with the types of shoppers that are at Giant Tiger. And in doing so, people that either don't experience the brand as much as they should or at all - can see themselves in the store and see themselves saving but could also see them find the products that they want make their lives better, and enrich their lives in the process which is ultimately what this branding about helping Canadians and enriching their lives. That’s the basic underpinnings to the campaign itself and

Then to make it more magical, we worked with a really great local director. He's a talented comedic director by nature. He really brought these characters to life and made the series a little bit funnier than normal. That sort of a magical quality would make it a better viewing experience and also make the message we’re trying to get out salient and stickier.


And what was the brief Giant Tiger gave you?

The brief contextually was to showcase and be proud of Giant Tiger Stores and the shopping experience you can have there. They wanted to have a departure from their marketing and creative in the past. To elevate the quality of the craft, especially in the artistic sense. The craft of the films, the social content, and the static elements.

They also wanted to create a greater universality to the design aesthetic. The way that everything is typeset, the way that titles are, the look of all that is also carried through to the store experience, online, and through email.


You said you collaborated on the strategy, what was the insight that led you to approach the work this way?

One of the planners discovered a lot of people don’t like to say that they got something at a certain discount retailer. But we found that there were people all across Canada who love the brand, and love telling people they love the brand. This is a place you should love shopping at, but also love to tell people that you found a deal at. You should never try to hide the place that you go to get the deals. So, we just pushed a little bit more on how this is a thing you can be proud of talking about. Be honest about where you go, what you got, and how much you got it for.

The insight that we found was you can see yourself at this place, you can see yourself being proud of what you have and saying look at this cool thing I got. Because it is that kind of place that has a lot of interesting finds. Allowing people to feel great about going there and then also have some bragging rights for it too.


What made you choose the ‘See yourself saving’ idea over any of the other ideas that came up?

The general theme for all the ideas was focusing on the people who shop there or people who could potentially shop there and try to marry them with the brand purpose. A proud Canadian retailer that wants to help Canadian communities.

This idea is stuck out more and I liked it the most because it was fun. I honestly find that a lot of advertising in the last five years has been purpose driven on its sleeve, so heavy, and always going for tears. I've made my career off of those kinds of campaigns, so I'm not against it. But it was just a refreshing sort of classic old fashion humorous skit that was tied to some actual fundamental insights and research we had.

Another thing that stuck out to me was this is a brand that does have a quirky humorous side to it. On their product labels, on their social media channels, you can see this quirky, very human side to them. And I just feel like this is the right thing for them to do.

We had another version of the campaign for the holidays, it going to be even funnier and it has even more fun with Holiday tropes and types characters you see around that time. This campaign has legs, you can run character studies forever, the world never runs out of characters.


What was the greatest challenge that you faced bringing this campaign to life?

There weren’t really any challenges. The client liked the work from the beginning and there was an appetite to see work different from before. They’re great clients and it's a cherished brand especially in rural communities here. I don't really have anything to say that was negative, sorry.

The owner of each franchise has to work in the store. That's an interesting thing about them. That person has a personal stake in the store. They live the brand and they’re part of the community, so people feel even better shopping. It’s all tied together.


And what did you enjoy most about seeing this through?

I enjoyed seeing how happy the client was with the work itself. Everybody was always laughing and having a good time. I enjoyed seeing them feeling good and confident about it. It was also extremely well received by the store owners when they played it at a corporate conference.

It was just good to see clients enjoying themselves, enjoying the work, and enjoying working with us. I know that sounds very old school Norman Rockwell, but so often it's a battle of agendas.  It was great to see everybody was on the same page, everybody enjoyed it, and everybody appreciated each other. And that’s something I’ve taken for granted in my past.  


You touched on this a bit already, but where do you see this campaign going in the future?

My hope is to bring this type of thinking to their experience design, their web presence, and their e-commerce. I want this to help define the tone with which they communicate internally and with customers.

This friendliness and lightheartedness and this focus on you and seeing yourself in this place. I’d love to interpret how that works in the store environment itself. I want this to go beyond a campaign. I want it to become almost like an operating system for Giant Tiger. I think that we should focus on good brand ideas, not just campaign ideas in the future. Especially for an agency like Huge, which is trying to redefine how agencies serve clients. That’s what  I hope and dream for this down the road.