Oshawa Centre is a dominant super-regional centre just east of Toronto, in a community that's in fast transition. Low home prices are attracting many young families from the GTA to Oshawa, and 12 million people commute from Oshawa to Toronto by GoTrain every year. Formerly defined by farming and the auto industry, Oshawa is quickly moving toward a more knowledge-based economy, largely stemming from new universities and tech growth. This is a large market, with a very bright future and high expectations.
To harness these changes, Oshawa Centre embarked on a systematic rebrand, all in anticipation of an enormous redevelopment project for the centre. The strategy? Capture the “Whitby Moms” – suburban women with strong disposable income – while continuing to draw the 18-25 year old set that has always fueled the centre’s success. This required a brand identity that elevated perceptions of Oshawa Centre, but still felt right in this down to earth city. In other words, we needed to appeal to both blue-collar traditions and big-city savvy. To keep this balance burned into our minds, we coined an internal creative catch-all for Oshawa Centre: CLASS & BRASS.
Oshawa is a city in transition. To harness these changes, Oshawa Centre embarked on a systematic rebrand.
The new Oshawa Centre brand was designed to elevate a sense of home-grown pride, raise expectations to a higher level, and better reach a new demographic. The previous campaign, centred around “The Rhythm of Durham” message, featured dancing young people paired with electric, wild colours – all directed at a younger shopper. To connect more directly with our Whitby Moms, we situated the new campaign within a home setting. Model, aesthetic and message were designed to be both authentic to place, and inspiring. The ’Oshawa Centre’ wordmark transformed from typical messaging sign-off to a commanding presence, while the retail offering underlined a strong international stable of brands.
The campaign brought strong fashion home, and amped up pride in Oshawa life.
Seasonal taglines were calibrated to be sexy and playful and fun, which mingled nicely with the creative – bright and youthful, but still refined and on-trend. Meanwhile, we populated the new voice onto Twitter and Facebook, to help begin an online dialogue that would create new converts to the centre every day.
A major key to the success of Oshawa Centre – and Oshawa as a community – was its connection to transit and the GoTrain. It was critical that Oshawa connect with those 12 million commuters (many of whom would otherwise shop at centres downtown, where they worked). Accordingly, the Oshawa Centre transit takeover operation created an unmissable statement, connecting with both new arrivals to the community and the people who’d lived here for generations.
The new brand brought refinement and vivid impact to a very dominant regional centre.
After a few seasons of making it clear Oshawa Centre was maturing along with this community, it was time to bring back some poppy summertime fun. Electric pastels and situational contexts that brought home the fun of summer here – where poolside life reigns. Again, transit media was heavily leveraged, continually reinforcing Oshawa’s complete domination of the area east of Toronto. All to support growth in this community – and keep more shopping dollars close to home.