For the 2019 Holiday season, both retailers and consumers had a common enemy: lack of time. Black Friday was on November 28th, a week later than previous years. This meant that retailers, including Sport Chek, had one less week to make their sales during the critical moment of the year.

A successful campaign

Sales during Black Friday
Sessions on the website

Understanding holiday shopping irritants

Because Black Friday was a week later than previous years, consumers relying on Black Friday deals had to be more patient for their Holiday purchases. Consumer expectations were high, and their patience was running low. There were a lot of consumers to please!

Although consumers love the deep discounts that Black Friday has to offer, the actual shopping moment is in fact quite annoying. Among other things, there are big crowds of people, parking nightmares, limited inventory problems, long line-ups at the cash, the list goes on! In fact, a study found that 86% of consumers rank their unpleasant holiday shopping experience at the same level as “having a root canal”.

This is also true for online: desired products can quickly go out of stock, retailers’ websites crashe during key shopping moments and various shipping as well as returning issues are very common. There is no doubt that these frustrations are a pain for consumers and are further amplified with one week less in this year’s holiday shopping season.

In today’s digital age, consumers are more and more vocal about these frustrations and they do not hesitate to voice their negative experiences on various social media platforms. On key shopping days such as Black Friday weekend, consumers are even more present online and call out retailers whenever they are experiencing shopping difficulties.

Focus on consumer pain points

Acknowledging this consumer state of mind, we built a solution to make the shopping experience easier for consumers, by tuning into the signals that they were sending us in real time! We used multiple sources of listening tools to identify what consumers were doing and saying as they shopped. Consumers send signals to the market in multiple ways, we simply listened!

Then we became the brand that solved consumer’s pain points by providing a better shopping experience during this hectic sales moment. A little like Santa’s helpers for consumers.

We were opportunistic in two big ways:

We found the consumer love. Consumers tell us what the hottest products are through their search and navigation habits. Using real-time search queries from Google and our own website search bar, we identified the most sought out products…in other words we identified consumer demand through real-time analytics. We coupled this knowledge with an inventory API to ensure we had the products in-stock. Finally, we shifted media focus to these hot products through the ads we pushed to market. This entire process took less than 2 hours!

We also found the consumer hate, we tuned into the pain points that consumers were voicing through social platforms. When consumers had a poor experience with our competitors, such as out-of-stock products, website crashes or check out problems, we provided them with an opportunistic solution to fix their dissatisfaction.

We continuously provided consumers with solutions where our competitors fell short and we helped improve their shopping experience. As such, the message combinations were almost limitless – for each consumer’s online shopping issue can be matched with a category and product. The listen, learn and assist circle happened in real time.

Leverage the love and hate


Using the custom-built Google Trend Queries tools and our own website search tool, we identified products that were surprisingly popular. A good example of that was a weighted Serenity blanket and a Theragun massage device. We did not have ads promoting these products at the beginning of the day. But when we realized how popular they were, we activated banner ads for them which allowed us to completely sell our inventory out! Using TweeterDeck, a social listening tool, we realized that the Footlocker website was down and the Lululemon check out process was down. Therefore, we created an ad that invited those customers to our website, eliminating their pain point. Using the same TweeterDeck tool, we realized that people were complaining about Wal-Mart overselling, then cancelling orders for Apple Watches. Therefore, we created an ad promoting the Apple Watches inventory still available at Sport Chek.

The strategy was simple: we zeroed in on a consumer pain point, we matched it with a Sport Chek offer and pushed that offer to market…in a real-time manner. In fact, the combination of both quantitative data based on products demand and qualitative data based on social listening allowed us to craft relevant ads that benefit both the consumers and our bottom-line - a win-win situation. By doing so, we increased our sales and solved all types of problems for consumers: oversold products by our competitors, consumers looking for hot products, competitive site crashes, checkout issues, cancelled orders, poor return policies, the list goes on!

A succesful campaign

CMA Awards
Best in Data
Festival of Media North America
Effectiveness Award
M&M Global Awards
Best use of digital
Warc Media Awards
Best use of data
Media Innovation Awards
Data-Driven Marketing
Media Innovation Awards
Best data insight
CMA Awards
Facebook Mobile

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We are steadfast in our belief that marketing and media creativity needs to be constantly redefined. Because we are emboldened by the ever-more meaningful, memorable and impactful connections this creates between a brand and its audiences. And most importantly, because it drives business success.


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