Reitmans. Really.

Retail (SILVER)
Brand Reawakening (SILVER)

Client Credits: Reitmans
REITMANS
Micheal Strachan, president
Jeannie Vondjidis-Miller, (EX) vice president marketing & visual presentation
Hélène Boidin, marketing director
Caroline Pilon, marketing manager
David Guarnieri, creative director

Agency Credits: Tank
TANK
Partner / EVP / Chief Strategy Officer : Valya Kruk
Group Account Director : Sophie Gaudet
Account Director : Emmanuelle Thaon
Account Manager : Amina Ben Ameur
Partner, Executive Creative Director : Alexandre Gadoua
Senior Copywriter : Jean-François DaSylva-LaRue
Senior Art Director : Roula Asmar/ Michel Barrière
Creative Director : Christian Ayotte
Interactive Art Director : Antoine Hallé
Director, Print Production : Marie-Pierre Lemieux
FALL CAMPAIGN
TV Production House: Antler
Director : John Grammatico
Music and sound : Apollo and BLVD
Fashion Challenge production: 1Production
SPRING/SUMMER CAMPAIGN
TV Production House: 4Zero1
Director : Jeremie Saindon
Music and sound : Apollo
FASHION CONVERSATION S /S 2016
Production House : Pilaar
Director : Jean Malek
MEDIA STRATEGY AND MEDIA BUY
OMD
Nicolas Marin, General manager
Stéphanie Noël, Associate director of strategy
Stéphanie Michaud, Media strategist
PR FALL 2015: 1Milk2Sugars
PR SPRING/SUMMER 2016: ASC


Section I — CASE PARAMETERS

Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):August 2015 to July 2016
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: September 2015
Base Period as a Benchmark: August 2014 to July 2015
Geographic Area: Canada
Budget for this effort: $4 - $5 million

Section IA — CASE OVERVIEW
Why should this case win in the category (ies) you have entered?
Reitmans Really: Giving New Life to an Old Brand
Reitmans presented us with the ultimate marketing challenge: Take a 90-year-old, well-entrenched, respected brand and reposition it to appeal to a younger target, without alienating the moms and grandmothers who shop there.
Challenge accepted.

With a footprint of over 300 stores, virtually every Canadian woman knows the brand. The company’s heritage was beginning to work against it, as Reitmans was widely regarded to be for a mature, conservative clientele.

In order to rejuvenate the company’s aging client base and reputation, we proposed to confront consumers with their own biases head-on. Through the use of a cleverly crafted stunt, a thoughtfully chosen brand ambassador, and an exciting new communication platform, we were able to give new life to Reitmans and reintroduce the brand to a whole new generation of shoppers, while not alienating its loyal customer base.

Without increasing the marketing budget over that of the previous year, we managed to raise top-of-mind awareness and appreciation among younger customers, build in-store and online traffic, and increase sales—so much so that in 2016 we won the Retail Council of Canada’s prestigious Excellence in Retailing award, a first for Reitmans!


Section II — THE CLIENT’s BUSINESS ISSUES/OPPORTUNITIES
a) Describe the Client’s business, competition and relevant history:

Founded in 1926, the Montreal-based retailer is Canada’s largest women’s clothing specialty store. With 97%* awareness across Canada and stores in all provinces and two territories, everyone knows the brand. Reitmans built its reputation on being an accessible fashion destination with a focus on fit at a great price.

 

As international fast-fashion brands like H&M established themselves across Canada, and with the rise of online retailers, Reitmans was facing an increasingly cluttered market with fierce competition. Bargain hunters looking for great deals were being seduced by aggressive discount retailers like Walmart. Winners was also encroaching on Reitmans’ territory. Their steady expansion was beginning to be felt, especially as they moved into the secondary markets that Reitmans typically dominated.



b) Describe the Client’s Business Issues/Opportunities to be addressed by the campaign:

Founded in 1926, the Montreal-based retailer is Canada’s largest women’s clothing specialty store. With 97%* awareness across Canada and stores in all provinces and two territories, everyone knows the brand. Reitmans built its reputation on being an accessible fashion destination with a focus on fit at a great price.

 

As international fast-fashion brands like H&M established themselves across Canada, and with the rise of online retailers, Reitmans was facing an increasingly cluttered market with fierce competition. Bargain hunters looking for great deals were being seduced by aggressive discount retailers like Walmart. Winners was also encroaching on Reitmans’ territory. Their steady expansion was beginning to be felt, especially as they moved into the secondary markets that Reitmans typically dominated.



c) Resulting Business Objectives: Include how these will be measured:
Reitmans' management wanted to infuse new life into the brand and make it more attractive to a new generation of consumers. Consequently, it reviewed its product offering in order to adapt to the tastes of younger customers. But to support this strategy, the brand would need to be redefined in the eyes of the new younger target, to spread the good news of the revamp and give life to the brand's new look. This younger target was women between the ages of 25 and 44.

Shifting a brand perception across a generation gap is a tricky manoeuvre. The risk of alienating the older, albeit loyal customer base was high. Changing the brand's perception amongst the targeted younger clientele was especially challenging: How could we communicate our new offering when their biases prevented them from hearing us in the first place?

Sources: 1. Reitmans post-campaign study S/S 2016 Léger, July 7, 2016. 2. Reitmans Comp. YOY data (April to July 2016, wave 2 ) 3. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (August to October 2015, Wave 1) 4. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (Nov. 26-30, 2015) 5. Reitmans Brand Awareness and Perception Pre-Campaign Study, Léger, September 17, 2015.


Section III — YOUR STRATEGIC THINKING
a) What new learnings/insights did you uncover?

Reitmans had already shifted their product offering to appeal to the younger target. Those in the know were often met with incredulity when they revealed that their covetable item was from Reitmans. So the campaign slogan—“Reitmans. Really.”—is rooted in a true insight. People are genuinely surprised that a 20-something’s fashionable skirt or blouse did not come from Zara or H&M.

The problem with communicating our new offering to a younger generation is that we weren’t even on their relevancy radar. To allure the younger customer, we really needed to shake up the perception that Reitmans was not for their generation. On the other hand, too drastic a change could turn off the older core customer. 



b) What was your Big Idea?

The “Reitmans. Really.” tagline, based on a strong insight, confronts the consumer and her bias head-on. The product speaks for itself. Allowing real women to respond naturally to the clothing was the best way to change people’s preconceptions about the brand, because when it comes to fashion, seeing is believing.




c) How did your Communication strategy evolve?

We took a two-pronged approach to tackle the stubborn belief. The first “shock and awe” phase harnessed the element of surprise through a cleverly crafted public stunt. The second phase revealed an exciting new communication platform featuring a young and popular brand ambassador, the celebrity least likely to wear Reitmans. 
We needed to change the bias against the brand and convince consumers that it was possible to find trendy and fashionable clothing at Reitmans. So we decided to communicate with them anonymously. We would approach our target without revealing ourselves and let them appreciate the clothes on their own merit. And what better way to take down the bias than to address the most fashion-sensitive members of the group? If we convinced them, the others would follow. So we organized and filmed a stunt at the Montreal Fashion and Design Festival, a watering hole for Canadian fashion influencers.
Next in our quest to destroy the prejudice, we sought out a fashion-savvy celebrity unlikely to endorse Reitmans. An endorsement from an older, more predictable celebrity would have simply reinforced the stereotype against the brand. We needed a young fashionista who would make our younger target sit up and take notice.
We recommended the brand adopt actress Meghan Markle, star of the popular series Suits, as a new spokesperson. In her early 30s, adored by Canadian women in their 20s and 30s, dynamic and down-to-earth yet refined, she is aspirational without being alienating. She was a perfect match for the brand because she seems like the smart, friendly, and well-connected young woman everyone likes, even the older crowd. With her own lifestyle blog and a large following, Meghan had the fashion credibility and offered the inspiration and guidance our target was already seeking out on their own. 




d) How did you anticipate the communication would achieve the Business Objectives?

We anticipated that the introduction of a new and exciting communication platform featuring a popular young celebrity would raise perceived relevance and sales among women 25 to 44.



Sources: 1. Reitmans post-campaign study S/S 2016 Léger, July 7, 2016. 2. Reitmans Comp. YOY data (April to July 2016, wave 2 ) 3. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (August to October 2015, Wave 1) 4. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (Nov. 26–30, 2015) 5. Reitmans Brand Awareness and Perception Pre-Campaign Study, Léger, September 17, 2015.


Section IV — THE WORK
a) How, where and when did you execute it?

The first wave of the plan was executed in the late summer of 2015, during Montreal Fashion Week. The stunt consisted of several models wearing trendy outfits walking through the festival toward an unbranded kiosk as if participating in a photo shoot. Passers-by were asked to identify which brand the models were wearing. Most guessed big fashion names and renowned retailers before being told the truth: Reitmans. Their answers were, as we had anticipated, “Really?”

Videos of the exploit were broadcast on TV and online in both languages. The stunt helped to create momentum leading up to the big reveal of Reitmans’ new brand ambassador.

The public was finally introduced to Meghan Markle a few weeks later, with a TV commercial, web placements[SS1] , out-of-home billboards, and in-store advertising material. The humorous TV spots centred on women struggling to get a peek at the label on Meghan’s fabulous outfits. The spots ended on Meghan informing the curious women that the pieces came from Reitmans—really.

 

The activity in the fall was followed by a spring campaign that was a continuation of the first wave, beginning in April 2016. A collection of four dresses actually designed by Meghan was put in stores as an exclusive offer during the campaign, adding credibility and excitement to the brand renewal.

 

To support the spots, we created “Fashion Conversations” as online content where Meghan offered her point of view on how to embrace current trends. These served to leverage Meghan’s notoriety and credibility as an expert on style and to attract fans, many of whom were already seeking her out.

 

The media campaign was also supported by a well-coordinated public relations campaign to reach influencers, including some of the top fashion bloggers in Canada.


 [SS1]There is a word missing here after "web"; I have added "placements" as a suggestion only.



c) Media Plan Summary

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33697_Capture_d’écran_2016-08-30_à_11.02.17


Sources: 1. Reitmans post-campaign study S/S 2016 Léger, July 7, 2016. 2. Reitmans Comp. YOY data (April to July 2016, wave 2 ) 3. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (August to October 2015, Wave 1) 4. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (Nov. 26–30, 2015) 5. Reitmans Brand Awareness and Perception Pre-Campaign Study, Léger, September 17, 2015.


Section V — THE RESULTS
a) How did the work impact attitudes and behaviour?

The results of the Reitmans. Really. campaign are nothing short of fabulous: an increase in top-of-mind awareness and appreciation (wave 1: 84%), plus message comprehension and campaign execution were all deemed “excellent” by the Léger post-campaign study.1
More than one-half of consumers were aware of the campaign1 (51% vs. the norm of 40%). Reitmans achieved first mention (top-of-mind awareness) as a women’s clothing brand not only among women 45–54, which was not surprising, but also among our desired target of women 35–44 as well as 25–34, where awareness jumped from third place to first.
Amongst all age groups, there were stellar improvements in overall positive perceptions of Reitmans. One-half of those exposed to the campaign (49%1) said that the ads had positively affected their perception of the brand. 
Meghan’s presence really helped to engage the target and add credibility to the brand amongst the 25- to 44-year-olds. Sixty-three percent of 25- to 34-year-olds and 46% of 35- to 44-year-olds in the Léger study said that the choice of brand ambassador changed their opinion of the brand for the better.1



b) What Business Results did the work achieve for the client?

Just as importantly, Reitmans. Really. was exceptionally successful in driving consumers to stores, reversing a trend of decreased traffic and sales, with an increase of 5.5%3 in traffic for the first wave. In wave 2, the increase in sales was even more dramatic: +6%2 year over year! 
The effects of our efforts are undeniable. Twenty-nine percent1 of our targeted 35- to 44-year-olds said they purchased something at Reitmans after seeing the campaign, versus 18%5 before its debut.
During each wave of the campaign, online sales enjoyed enormous increases (69.6% in wave 1, 72.8% in wave 2). And on the most important days of the year for online sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Reitmans experienced a spectacular 25%4 increase, despite ferocious competition.



c) Other Pertinent Results

In terms of PR, in a little over one month we had secured 53 press hits nationally about Meghan’s involvement with Reitmans in print, broadcast, and online outlets. This averaged out to 14 press hits per week and reached a total of 18 million impressions, including broadcast segments on Breakfast Television, eTalk and City News and in popular publications such as Hello! Canada magazine.
Almost 19 million additional impressions were secured in print, broadcast, and online publications that went live between September and November.



d) What was the campaign’s Return on Investment?

With no change in overall marketing budget:

Improved brand image: +49% among women 25-54

Improved sales incidence: 29% among women 35-44 vs. 18% before the campaign

Sales increase of +6% in Wave 2

Increase of online sales: 69.6% in wave I and 72.8% in wave 2


Sources: 1. Reitmans post-campaign study S/S 2016 Léger, July 7, 2016. 2. Reitmans Comp. YOY data (April to July 2016, wave 2 ) 3. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (August to October 2015, Wave 1) 4. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (Nov. 26-30, 2015) 5. Reitmans Brand Awareness and Perception Pre-Campaign Study, Léger, September 17, 2015.


Section VI — Proof of Campaign Effectiveness
a) Illustrate the direct cause and effect between the campaign and the results

The media spend for this campaign was very similar to the previous year’s budget but achieved unprecedented positive results. This change is attributable above all to the exciting new brand platform, and to a smart shift in communication spend from promotional media such as flyers to image media such as TV and online.

Tableau3



b) Prove the results were not driven by other factors
Campaign spend vs. history and competition:

These impressive results were achieved despite the fact that in 2015 Reitmans was significantly outspent in mass media by its five main competitors.

We should note that one advantage Reitmans has over most of its main competitors is that the company concentrates exclusively on women’s clothing. Despite Reitmans’ lower share of voice, its communications focused only on women’s clothing, so with a smart media buy our presence seemed greater than it actually was. This was reinforced by our decision to concentrate our buy in TV and online. 
It should also be noted that during the campaign, sales promotions were at the same level as previous years. In fact there was a concerted effort to be a little less promotional because we wanted to increase the value of the brand’s image.
For the first time in a very long time, Reitmans is seeing significant increases in brand image, traffic, and sales. And younger women are finally proud to say that th



Pre-existing Brand momentum:

NONE



Pricing:

No changes



Changes in Distribution/Availability:

No significant changes



Unusual Promotional Activity:

NONE



Any other factors:

NONE


Sources: 1. Reitmans post-campaign study S/S 2016 Léger, July 7, 2016. 2. Reitmans Comp. YOY data (April to July 2016, wave 2 ) 3. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (August to October 2015, Wave 1) 4. Reitmans Comp. YOY Data (Nov. 26–30, 2015) 5. Reitmans Brand Awareness and Perception Pre-Campaign Study, Léger, September 17, 2015.