Canadian Tire’s NHL Winter Classic ‘Ice Truck’ Campaign

Canadian Tire put its Motomaster Eliminator battery to the ultimate test in a flagship commercial for NHL Winter Classic that saw it appear in the world’s first working ice truck.


The project saw the Canadian Tire retailer leverage one of hockey’s biggest annual events – one indeed officially sponsored by Bridgestone thus making the campaign ambush of sorts – with a campaign centered around a 60-second TV commercial during the Canadian telecast of the game.


The spot which features the ice truck driving a father and son to hockey practice and aired during the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and showcasing the innovative (and fully working) ice truck.



The truck itself was sculpted in tandem with Iceculture, while Canadian Tire worked with creative agency Taxi and media agency Touche! on the TV creative, and with Notch and Fuse for the online video,


The minute-long flagship ad aired in full only once – during the Winter Classic – thus adapting the long held Super Bowl strategy to the huge outdoor NHL extravaganza.


The lead up to the commercial also followed a strategy similar to that used by many Super Bowl advertisers, in so much that preview teasers were seeded on Facebook and digital trailers ran online to generate pre-event hype. Following the event a behind-the-scenes project video was also posted online.



In another first for the brand, the accompanying Facebook Newsfeed buy aimed to ensure that everyone in Canada over the age of 25 saw the ice truck ad in their feed on the site.


The event ad was also promoted on Twitter and through a YouTube masthead takeover.


Further supporting online clips on the creation of the ice truck itself and of its drive through Hensall (Ontario) were also seeded online.


The ice truck’s 1.5 km trip was also being submitted to the Guinness World Records for the longest distance covered by a self-propelled ice sculpture.




One of our favourite January guerilla event ambush campaigns, a working, moving ice truck is certainly something of a creative first.


Who knew it was even possible to build an ice truck that didn’t melt when the engine fired up or crack as soon as it turned right or left?


Of course, the underlying message is to demonstrate just how reliable and durable the MotoMaster Eliminator Ultra Automotive Battery with AGM Technology is in the middle of winter.


Even when frozen to -40 degrees the battery still starts up the truck’s engine.


‘We came up with a brief that played on the expression that people say their car is “as cold as ice” and we wanted to demonstrate that with a new campaign,’ says Andrew Barrett, consulting associate VP of strategic marketing at Canadian Tire.


‘Taxi came back to us with the idea of a print ad that showed a truck frozen in a block of ice. I said we could do more than that, to create a truck out of ice and make a full multimedia execution out of it.’


The NHL Winter Classic is a flagship league event game played outdoors (typically in stadiums much larger than normal NHL franchise arenas) to attract huge outdoor crowds and bring back the experience of the traditional outdoor game to the NHL.


The 2014 event was the first Winter Classic to feature a Canadian NHL franchise when the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the Detroit Red Wings in Ann Arbor (Michigan)’s 105,000-seat college football stadium.




Campaign Website



Campaign YouTube Video



NHL Winter Classic Website





Featured Showcases