It has been slightly quiet on my blog in these past few days. There are some reasons for that. One being moving away from Acadia, and Wolfville, NS, for good – or a while, at least. The other reason being me spending some time in Montréal with my cousin Federico. Finally, we are in the wrapping stages of our event marketing book, due to appear with Wiley&Sons in August.
The most important reason for my absence was, however, the Pearson Canada Goose Case Challenge. Canada Goose and Pearson were looking for submissions to their challenge. The question was: How do we tackle counterfeiting issues in regards to the college and university population.
The structure of the assignment was pretty conservative: SWOT, Objectives, Research, Recommendations. To make it more interesting, we also needed to do a video submission.
The counterfeit issue is a delicate one. As Kevin Spreekmeester, VP Global Marketing of Canada Goose, pointed out “There is no sales objective in counterfeit“, it is all about protection.
So what did we want to achieve? Well, first, we wanted to dig into branding. Canada Goose has a massive brand equity that, generally, doesn’t need any further expansion. However, this is what we suggested: We wanted Canada Goose to be, instead of a hi-tech garment, a friend, a companion.
Secondly, we chose to actually embrace counterfeiting. This sounds rather odd, given that it costs the company a lot of money. However, our research has suggested, that counterfeit products are mainly bought by people who appreciate the brand more than the quality. For that reason it seemed smart to have people try counterfeit jackets and see for themselves how much of a difference there is.
Finally, we wanted to avoid any kind of guilt-tripping. Canada Goose, at the moment, has a campaign that says “It is nice to be admired, but…“. We believed this sounded patronising and too negative. We suggested that, if negative perceptions are attached to fake Canada Goose, these will also colour onto the real product. And we wanted to avoid this.
What came into life was the slogan “Genuinely, won’t let you freeze.” This slogan implies the mission of Canada Goose, to protect and take care of their patrons. By the same time, it was subtly playing on the double meaning of the word “genuine”.
We then wanted to get Canada Goose to interact more with the college audience on different levels. Firstly, we suggested a campus tour, where Canada Goose would offer workshops around the cold, concerts and education about sustainability. As a special feature, we would use a cold chamber, where students could see themselves on a heat-camera and see the difference between counterfeit and real products. The important thing, again, would be that this event would promote the brand itself, but rather the spirit attached. Also, we wanted to encourage Canada Goose to take an even stronger stand on their social media side.
A second recommendation was the introduction of a verification system for jackets, using serial numbers or QR codes. These codes could then be employed for all kinds of actions, from activating your jacket on Facebook to redeeming travel vouchers and so on. Again, not to show the brand, but rather the buyer’s committment to genuine products.
We competed against 20 teams. The two finalists were us and Centennial College from Toronto. In the end, we did the trick. We won the competition, according to Kevin Spreekmeester, on the grounds that we were top-notch on the brand value, and, even though we got slightly lost in the process, tied all the strings together in the end.
If you are interested into a more detailed explanation, here are our creative submission, our presentation and our marketing plan. Copyrights on our side, but feel free to have a look.
Have a look at our marketing plan.
Have a look at our creative submission.
Have a look at our presentation.