Canadiens’ Subban suits up for fashion retailer RW&CO

New short film presents NHL star as a stylish hero

P.K. Subban has added “action hero” to an impressive resume that includes NHL superstar and philanthropist. The Montreal Canadiens defenceman is currently starring in a new short film promoting fashion retailer RW&CO’s spring suit line.

Created by director Jimmi Francoeur, whose credits also include work for yogurt brand Liberté and the sneaker company Vans, the 90-second spot, “Suit up – it’s game time, ” is currently running on YouTube and hockey-related websites, and is also being pushed to social media channels.

The film is shot in the style of a spy-thriller, opening on Subban clad in a RW&CO suit answering the phone in a suite high above the city. He tells the person on the other end of the line “Okay, I’m coming,” before grabbing a small package off a dresser and making his way to the elevator.

He then climbs aboard a motorcycle and speeds his way through the city. The spot concludes with him knocking on an apartment door and presenting a signed puck to a young boy at a birthday party. It closes on the RW&CO logo, accompanied by the super “Suit up, it’s game time.”

“With P.K. being a hero to so many people, we wanted to feature him as a modern-day hero in our costume of choice, which is the suit,” said Rita McAdam, vice-president of marketing and visual presentation for Montreal-based RW&Co. “[Our customers] want entertainment and fun, and they want to see themselves in somebody like P.K.”

The spot will run through the end of March before transitioning into new creative (also featuring Subban) promoting RW&CO’s new athletic fit suit, which is roomier in the shoulders and thighs while maintaining a slim silhouette.

“We were looking for an ambassador that would resonate with our male customers,” said McAdam of the company’s decision to enlist Subban as a brand ambassador. “We also wanted to feature the suit category because it’s such an important part of our business.”

The short film builds on a fall campaign for the fashion retailer that featured Subban’s younger brothers Malcolm and Jordan and their father Karl. McAdam said the campaign contributed to a double-digit sales increase in the suiting category, as well as an overall lift in total sales for the retail chain.

She said RW&CO’s target customer regards Subban as both a role model and fashion icon. “He has an incredible sense of style and confidence both on and off the ice, so we thought it was a perfect match to feature him in our suits because we wanted to [project] those same values,” she said.

Subban is well known throughout the NHL for his keen sartorial sense. He was #32 on Hello! magazine’s list of the 50 best-dressed people in Canada in 2014, and often documents his style choices for his 443,000 Instagram followers. Last year he did a note-perfect Don Cherry impression complete with a loud floral-print suit, during a commercial shoot for Sportsnet.

This campaign marks the first time RW&CO has dabbled in short films, with McAdam telling Marketing the format appeals to its target audience, which spends a lot of time consuming online video. She defined the retailer’s “aspirational age” as 28, but said it is aimed at people eager to dress well.

“Our brand is really about offering our customers more dressy apparel,” said McAdam, “We’re talking to people who like to look sharp on every occasion. We’ve noticed that men are taking a lot more notice of the way they look, and starting to dress up, and we’re really starting to cater to that trend.”

A division of Reitmans, RW&CO operates just over 80 stores across the country and caters to both men and women. Its focus is on urban professionals, with stores located inside premium malls such as B.C.’s Metropolis at Metrotown and Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

OMD Canada is handling media for the campaign.

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