Canadian Tire ‘hijacks’ AOL sites

The retailer's digital-only ad for its new campaign is taking over pages like Huffington Post Canada.

Canadian Tire’s “testers” are taking over the home pages of AOL Canada sites.

In a first for the publisher, the retailer’s digital-only video for its “Tested for life in Canada” campaign is rolling out to desktops on Friday as a super-sized, can’t-miss interstitial ad unit. The execution was put together with media agency Touche and Tribal Worldwide. Taxi lead creative for the “Tested” campaign.

While similar to a traditional interstitial homepage ad, what makes it different is how it “hijacks” the site, blowing up to cover the majority of the page, explains Michelle Jones, digital supervisor at Touche.

The unit takes over the majority of the screen on home pages and section pages across AOL’s premium sites like, Huffington Post, Tech Crunch and Engadget, and immediately starts to play. Users have the option to close it after seven seconds and the frequency has been capped to one video per user.

Mike Evans, sales director at AOL Canada, says he’s confident the 1280 by 600 pixel unit, custom-built by his team in tandem with Tribal Worldwide, will make an impact.

“We don’t do a lot of those interstitial or top-lay overlays and we have never done it with video and never of that size,” he explains.

The agency expects to garner around 900,000 first-view impressions for the one-day execution. The video’s end screen then drives to a “Tested for life in Canada” microsite, and viewers of the ad will be re-targeted within the AOL network of sites with in-stream and native video of the full-length digital spot and testimonial videos.

The innovative campaign comes about a year after another first by Canadian Tire and Touche, when they were the first to partner with Facebook to sync ads between the social network and TV spots on the CBC.