MEC’s new branding geared to inspiring outdoor activity in city or backcountry

New research reveals regional differences in activity participation levels

Vancouver, BC – MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) today unveiled its new brand platform, as the national retailer intensifies its efforts to inspire and enable Canadians to live active outdoor lifestyles. New research validates that Canadians participate in a wide range of activities, and what they do is influenced by where they live. MEC’s brand celebrates this diverse community of “outsiders.”

A multi-faceted MEC brand campaign, “We are all outsiders,” launched today, recognizes that what connects “outsiders” are not just the activities themselves but the motivations that draw people outdoors in the first place.

“‘Outsiders’ conveys a new more inclusive definition of what it means to be active outdoors,” said MEC CEO David Labistour.

“MEC is embracing the needs of the future, while remaining focused on our goal of leading people from their front door to the far outdoors.”

MEC’s “Moving Stories” contest winners will also be announced at mec.ca/outsiders a new microsite that includes inspirational winner profiles alongside those of MEC Envoys

An exciting new collection of fall products supports MEC’s branding, including a larger assortment of technical backcountry gear as well as new apparel for activities such as cycling and running. In addition, the new MEC logo can now be found on MEC-brand products, the newly redesigned mec.ca and external store signage. Interiors in MEC’s Toronto, Montreal and North Vancouver stores have also been updated to showcase vibrant imagery and a community of active Canadians.

MEC will place a focus on engaging with young adults, as industry research confirms that activity levels decline most significantly after high school. Limited investments are currently being made at a national level to support post-secondary students’ participation in outdoor activities. MEC will use its brand and programming to inspire even more young adults to get outdoors.

The MEC rebranding culminates more than three years of work to provide members with a broader range of high-quality, responsibly sourced products, new services and community events. While backcountry activities remain the largest part of MEC’s retail offering by a significant margin, the strongest growth has come from urban activities such as cycling and running. This trend is borne out by new MEC research.

Research highlights regional activity differences

A national research study conducted by Insights West for MEC found that regular participation is particularly high in activities that can be more easily integrated into Canadians’ daily lives, such as walking (70 per cent regularly participate), cycling (16 per cent), yoga or Pilates (13 per cent) and running (11 per cent).

While camping is relatively popular (38 per cent) across the country, regional differences exist for many other activities, likely owing to ease of access. For example, compared to the national average:

  • British Columbians are more likely to hike (54 per cent)
  • Ontarians boast higher participation in watersports (23 per cent)
  • Quebecers are more likely to cycle (21 per cent) and do snowsports (34 per cent)
  • Residents of Alberta and the Maritime provinces are more apt to run (13 per cent each)

More information from the activity research is provided in an MEC backgrounder and infographic.

Celebrating the new MEC

MEC will host public events in each of its stores across Canada on September 21 to celebrate the official launch of the rebrand. The Toronto, Montreal and North Vancouver stores will spearhead the celebrations with special performances, while events in all stores will include prizes, clinics, competitions and giveaways. Walking billboards will roam across the three large urban centers this week, offering time sensitive giveaways via social media. More information is available at mec.ca/party.

About Mountain Equipment Co-op

An outdoor retail co-operative, MEC exists to encourage and inspire Canadians to live active outdoor lifestyles. From backcountry trails to city streets, MEC supports a range of outdoor activities, including climbing, hiking, camping, snowsports, watersports, cycling, running and yoga. Well known for selling high-quality well-designed products that offer great value, MEC employs outdoor enthusiasts who possess a strong service ethic to provide its members with an authentic and accessible customer experience. MEC has more than 3.5 million members across Canada, whom it serves through 17 stores in 6 provinces as well as mec.ca and the Shop MEC iPhone® app. Anyone can join MEC by purchasing a $5 individual lifetime membership.

For more information or high-resolution images of the MEC brand, please contact:

Nicolas Sirois
National Public Relations Coordinator
Nicolas.Sirois@mec.ca
604.707.3369

Scott Taber
Senior Consultant, Media Profile
Scott.Taber@mediaprofile.com
416.342.1840 (office)
647.888.9857 (mobile)

Photograph: Kenny Louie