Canada One-Five-Oh – Pick the Most Irrelevant Branded Product!

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Whenever something feels culturally strange in North America, I learned to ask myself the following question: is this an actual thing or just a corporate money-grab excuse?

Fake “holidays” like “La Poutine Week,” “World Nutella Day,” “National Cookie Day” or “Ribfest” are made-up celebrations invented by companies looking to drum up interest and sell a specific product. I’m not exactly breaking news here, yet I’m occasionally amazed by the way North Americans enthusiastically embrace “unique events” or “great deals.” I’ve seen Canadians (and Americans) all hyped up about absolutely ridiculous events I don’t even understand. One comes to mind—the giant queue on Harvey’s Free Burger Day for a $5 burger. Remember that a burger is just a bun, a patty and topping… I wouldn’t fight my way to the door for a free one!

On the other hand, Canada Day is a real holiday—it marks the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867, which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.

This year is Canada’s 150th birthday. For some people, this nice, round number is a milestone and a chance to celebrate our history and identity. Unfortunately, in this culture of hyper-materialism, Canada 150 is also turning into a cash grab for retailers.

The recipe is simple: take a product, put the words “Canada,” “150” or “eh” on it and hope for aisle-end display.

Usually, before Canada Day, the aisles are full of Canadian flags, t-shirts and fireworks.

This year, it’s just … complete nonsense—or in marketing speak, “a wide range of branded products to meet every possible need.”

Over the past week, I took pictures of some of the Canada 150 products in stores around Ottawa. Have fun browsing, and tell me which one you find the most irrelevant in the comments!

 

Antlers cap at Loblaws

Moose sock puppet at Loblaws

“Made in China” Canada car flags at Loblaws

Tumblers with straw at Loblaws

Ice buckets at Loblaws

Kid t-shirts at Loblaws (not quite sure the typical Canadian family looks like the one pictured here, though…)

Decorative pillows at Loblaws

Butter cookies at Toys “R” Us

Maple caramel corn at Loblaws

Paper plates at Loblaws

Maple bacon (!) chips at Loblaws

Canada Day Orea at Walmart

Beaver stuffed animal at Walmart

Plastic sandals at Walmart (only $1.50!)

Luggage tags at Walmart

Canada 150 t-shirts at Walmart

M&M’s special edition Canada 150 at Walmart

Canada-themed cupcakes at Walmart

Canada 150 bottled water (??)

Canada 150 paper tissues

Cookies kit at Walmart

Canada 150 soccer ball

Canada 150 doll

Canada 150 donuts in a convenience store

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

6 Comments

  1. Salut (je rattrape mon retard tu as vu!). Les chandails, peluches et autres items du genre ne me choquent pas. Ce sont des objets de célébration, un peu comme acheter une pancarte qui dit “bon 150e”. Par contre les marques qui utilisent l’anniversaire m’agacent, comme M&m’s, ou PC. Si c’était juste de l’affichage, encore, ce serait juste de l’indigestion visuelle, mais souvent les prix augmentent, ou les paquets sont plus petits pour le même prix, etc…

    • Oui, je trouve les “éditions spéciales” de marques (souvent américaines) assez pitoyables. En même temps, ça m’amuse, c’est plus de la moquerie de ma part qu’un vrai coup de gueule (y’a des choses pas mal plus importantes…). Remarque, j’ai aussi une overdose des marques canadiennes qui se roulent dans les clichés canadiens, genre Tim Hortons.

  2. I have to say I didn’t pay that much attention! I did see all the BBQ items, bottles, beach towels etc that we get each year, and some of the stuff is kinda cute like the T-shirts, flags, teddy bears.
    But I agree with Lexie, I’m not a fan of brands taking advantage of it to market BS.
    And yes North Americans seem to have a child-like enthusiasm for holidays and there is never a shortage of “celebrations” here. The cynical part of me finds it laughable, but on the other end it’s sweet and heartwarming to celebrate together sometimes 🙂 Plus the Canadian flag is synonymous with collegial fun and family time and multiculturalism, which isn’t hte case for all national flags….
    PS: I took advantage of a sale of “Maple Leaf” branded chicken for Canada day week, does it count? haha

    • I completely agree with you, and a have a similar attitude. I find some events completely hyped up but hey, if I can join and have fun… why not?

  3. Ahahha ! Excellent ! Au moins tout ça c’est patriotique ! Chez nous à part pour la Coupe du Monde/d’Europe de foot, on ne voit pas grand chose d’estampillé belge. Un peu pareil que Lexie, les nounours, T-shirts, biscuits je trouve ça plutôt marrant, mais je ne les achèterais pas. Par contre, est-ce bien nécessaire d’avoir des mouchoirs ou des bouteilles d’eau déguisés pour l’occasion ? Enfin après, money is money et nos chers publicitaires ne vont pas rater une occasion en or de vendre un peu plus. Par contre, ça doit être compliqué de faire les courses avec un enfant quand c’est comme ça non ? Ils doivent être tentés par pleins de trucs?

    Ceci dit bonne Fête du Canada quand même à vous toutes !

    • Honnêtement, les gamins sont un peu blasés au niveau du marketing ici. Ça ne fait pas rêver Mark du tout… je ne me souviens pas qu’il ait demandé un produit Canada 150.

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