Published On: July 8, 2024By

In short

St. Vital Centre came to us wanting to lean into its status as a “community mall”—but we soon learned that the St. Vital neighbourhood struggles with its identity and carving out a name for itself. So, we sought out to lead a brand refresh and campaign that could reframe how locals see themselves, their everyday routines—and the mall—all at once. We wanted to help the folks in St. Vital see themselves in the St. Vital Centre brand, while helping the Centre be seen as the place to be in the neighbourhood again.

Methodology

We dug deep into third-party research St. Vital Centre provided and found that they serve a hyperlocal audience. Because of this, we knew the campaign had to be centred around helping people in the area think more of their days and themselves, alongside the campaign.

Just because St. Vital Centre is a mall fulfilling folks’ everyday needs, doesn’t mean every day can’t be exciting. In fact, it’s the very people they serve every day that helps inspire the mall. So, we came up with the tagline “Everyday Inspired,” and we decided to go all-out hyperlocal with our ad campaign, casting local people, featuring mall products and talent, and using surreal scenes in the mall to show how the mall can elevate your everyday.

For our campaign videos and photography, we staged three scenes that looked like they could be taking place somewhere else, then revealed that they were actually happening in the mall, using a “trompe l’oeil” approach to show the mall and what it has to offer in a whole new way. Using all-local talent, hair/makeup artists, set decoration and props from the mall created a hyperlocal feel to the campaign—and ensured people knew everything we featured that could elevate their everyday was available at the mall. This led to an even bigger “reveal” in our behind-the-scenes video, showing there’s more to the St. Vital community and the mall itself than people were giving it credit for.

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Execution

The brand awareness campaign supporting the new visuals and brand positioning for St. Vital Centre launched in early October 2023 and ran until early December 2023.

Mall signage was updated in the new branding, and an integrated marketing campaign was launched to reveal the new brand, aiming to help people think more of their days in St. Vital—and what they could do at the mall. Fifteen-second and six-second video ads using our “trompe l’oeil” scenes ran on YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and in select local movie theatres. Audio ads ran on local radio stations as well as Spotify—featuring someone telling their friend about an immersive experience as it was happening at the mall. Additionally, we selected a few high-traffic, hyperlocal digital billboards that showcased the new campaign photography in the area we needed to influence the most: the St. Vital neighbourhood.

We also ran a few specific ad creatives geared toward St. Vital’s multicultural audience, including print placements in the Filipino Journal and radio ads translated to Punjabi and Tagalog.

We supplied St. Vital Centre with the behind-the-scenes video and some organic social media creative to help them maximize the story behind the campaign and share all the “Easter eggs” in the campaign with their audience.

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Outcome

The video ad creative started off strong and ranked above industry benchmarks on social media. Overall, the digital campaign gained approximately 3.5 million impressions and 7,500 clicks. On average, each user explored a minimum of two webpages on the St. Vital Centre website, showcasing meaningful and sustained engagement with our content.

The St. Vital Centre team updated their social media platforms and mall decals/signage with the new brand identity, helping them establish a consistent and elevated look to all their brand applications, a missing brand element outlined in their third-party audit.

Best of all, we were able to hire everyday people for not just the video ads, but the radio ads as well, giving a few locals and unsuspecting people on shoot day an experiential tie to their local mall.

Lessons Learned

This campaign taught us a lot about hosting open casting calls, especially the impact involving local talent can have on the overall experience and authenticity of the ad—becoming an experiential brand engagement in itself. We also learned that if telling the story behind a campaign is vital, it’s worth capturing that storyline, even if it’s just for organic promotion for the client.

We learned a lot from our client, too, like how to source from their vendors, and the meaning of the word “stanchion” ;). Having a client that sprints alongside you really can make even the trickiest campaign executions possible. St. Vital Centre met us every step along the way, making some of our lofty goals and timelines possible for this project, leading to the best possible creative result.

The UpHouse team staffing the casting booth at St. Vital Mall

Credits

Creative Director – Brenlee Coates
Associate Creative Director Matthew Dyck
Creative Manager Kathleen Phillips
Art Director – Sheena Case
Assistant Art Director Sarah Elliott
Marketing Director – Sade Ogungbemi
Marketing Manager – Lionel Pinto
Set Coordinator Kelsey Norquay
Set Coordinator – Stacha Penner
Set Coordinator Emily Thompson
Video Production Manager – Jay Lagarde
Video Production Coordinator – Kaitlyn Barry
Stills Photographer Adam Borman
Stills Camera Assistant
Aaron Pedersen 
Director of Photography
Tyler Funk
Focus Puller –
Pascal Boisvert
Grip – Marco Pe
Grip Sean Guezen
Wardrobe – Joanna Velasquez
Hairstylist – Kaitlyn Koop
Hairstylist – Heather Kinley
Hairstylist Mel Funk
HairstylistTammy Zakowich
Makeup Artist – Josh Stark
Makeup Artist – Geoff Amanonce
TalentSandra Masserey
Talent –
Paula Hamilton
Talent – Madison Miller
Talent – Madison Honeyborne
Talent Brandon Honeyborne
Talent Angela Daet
Talent – Luana Lima Rocha
Talent – Ken Steen
Talent – Isabel Nayet
Talent – Carol Nikkel
Talent – Xander Bryson
Talent Max Cansino
Talent Prince Sabu
Talent Tanjit Nagra