‘Simons 101’ campaign promotes retailer’s first Ontario location

Quebec retailer explains what it's all about

Quebec fashion retailer Simons opened its first Ontario location last week—at Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre—and it’s taking a back-to-basics approach to tell people what the brand is all about.

A new 30-second video, created by Cossette, opens with a super, “Welcome to a style universe.” Models pose and dance in front of leafy green backdrops, playing off the retailer’s logo. Another super then reads, “176 years of fashion, 48 world-class designers, 8 private collections. Find us at Square One.”

The spot is running in pre-roll on YouTube and in movie theatres across the Greater Toronto Area. The campaign also includes digital, print ads, outdoor and transit advertising in Mississauga, including four buses that have been completely wrapped with Simons’ colours.

“We call the campaign ‘Simons 101,’ meaning we want to make sure people know who we are,” said Philippe Normand, VP of marketing at Simons (or La Maison Simons, as it is known in Quebec.) “It’s not only to make sure they know we sell fashion products, but it’s to tell them Simons is new to [the GTA], but it’s not new to the world.”

While the awareness level of Simons is well over 90% in its home province, outside of Quebec, awareness is understandably low. “That’s the reason we wanted to do back-to basics type of campaign,” said Normand.

The location at Square One is Simons’ third outside of Quebec. The retailer opened a location in West Edmonton Mall in 2012, and in Vancouver last October. Now that the Vancouver has been open for about six months, Simons is developing phase two of its “discovery campaign,” said Normand.

“Instead of Simons 101, let’s call it Simons 201,” said Normand. “So now we’re making sure people understand in detail what our sub-brands are, like Twik for young ladies, for example. It’s more down the funnel, so we’ll [communicate that we] have a wide range of pricing and a wide variety of products.”

Simons is opening a location in Ottawa this summer, with stores in Calgary and a second one in Edmonton slated for 2017. Normand said other locations in Toronto and Vancouver would likely open in the coming years.

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