Stunt or Special Event

Canadian Tire’s ‘Red Door to Rio’ campaign blends real, virtual worlds

Physical doors—one fixed, one traveling—opened a portal between Canada and Brazil during the Olympics.

The Red Door to Rio- Logo

As a National Premier Partner of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Tire’s External Communications Team was assigned to come up with an experience to complement the “We All Play for Canada” brand platform. The experience the team created is the first-place winner in the “Stunt or Special Event” category of PR Daily’s 2017 Media Relations Awards

The “Red Door to Rio” campaign involved the construction of two physical doors. One of them was installed in the Canada Olympic House in Rio, where Canadian athletes spent their time when not competing. The other traveled to seven locations across the greater Toronto area. An athlete in Rio would stand on one side of the door and interact in real time with the life-size video projection of whoever was on the Toronto side of the door. 

Most of these interactions included the element of surprise. For instance, after winning a gold medal on the trampoline, Rosie MacLennan expected to talk to proud Toronto residents through the Red Door. Instead, her grandmother, unable to make the trip to Rio, was waiting to talk to her. 

Videos of the interactions drew huge viewership; the video of MacLennan’s experience with Grandma Jean racked up half a million views in just one day. In all, 683 interactions between Canada and Rio took place, with all of Canada’s gold medalists participating. That resulted in 18.5 million earned media impressions from Canada and the United States through outlets like CBS and CBC. 

A post-Olympic survey found that unaided recall of partners scored Canadian Tire the highest, at 32 percent. The entire campaign went from concept to execution in only 10 weeks, a noteworthy feat that produced spectacular results through an innovative campaign.

Congratulations to the External Communications Team at Canadian Tire

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