As a successful Quebec retailer with five superstores (four in Quebec and one in Ottawa) and over $100 million in sales, SAIL made the decision to expand into the GTA, opening two stores in the region. Using their previous agency, they launched an aggressive ad campaign, and even with significant media support, customer numbers and sales did not meet expectations.
In November of 2011, SAIL approached our agency looking for a new angle to reach their customers. We received a creative brief in March of 2013 for a TV campaign to be launched two months later.
The Insight & Strategy
We conducted consumer research to uncover why SAIL's amazing retail experience was not resonating. Using a combination of our agency's proprietary consumer panel (AHAA™), social media, in-store interviews and a survey to the client's VIP database, we uncovered a pivotal insight: the store experience itself was the number one differentiator and its clear competitive advantage.
Despite some clever creative by the former agency, we knew that we had to bring the store alive and marry it to the great outdoors in a new and memorable way. We needed to create a brand hero and mentor to help tell the story. We wanted our hero to be the ultimate outdoors enthusiast — someone who would make any consumer think, "If they shop at SAIL, so should I."
So, who is the ultimate outdoors icon?
To find out we developed test creative for two focus groups consisting of SAIL and non-SAIL customers and unanimously the creative that proposed a Sasquatch character as "the ultimate outdoor enthusiast" was a huge hit. Our team developed five TV spots to launch the campaign that featured our Sasquatch, "Karl," in humorously uncomfortable situations in the great outdoors. The spots then cut to beautiful shots of the store focusing on equipment Karl needs to make his outdoors experience great, ending with Karl enjoying the outdoors, courtesy of SAIL.
The campaign launched with tremendous success and an immediate double-digit sales lift across all GTA stores, with GTA stores outperforming same store sales from the previous year. During the prime holiday winter portion of the campaign in 2013, SAIL's GTA stores saw a median year-over-year increase in the double-digit percentages, with some weeks posting gains well in excess of 40%.
Not bad for a Sasquatch named Karl.
The big difference between Top Drawer and any other agency we have worked with is their lack of silos. This collaborative model not only makes my job easier, but the results speak for themselves.
— Richard Viger, Director of Marketing, SAIL