It took nearly two centuries, but Orvis, the outdoors sporting goods store, is finally catching up with the times. The Manchester, Vermont-based retailer is running its first TV ad this week, with a brand anthem that encourages shoppers to explore the outdoors.
In the past, the 163-year-old brand had focused on direct-response marketing, including catalog or paid digital ads. But Orvis is now looking to jump start its brand awareness in a way that’s easy to measure, says Simon Perkins, chief operating officer, noting that this includes both TV and print.
“We know we have low brand awareness,” says Perkins, who is a third-generation member of Orvis owner the Perkins family. “When people get to know us, they like us, but we need to make it easier for them to get to know us.”
Orvis has been ramping up its print and social advertising as well. Last year, the retailer, which has nearly 100 locations in the U.S. and U.K., started working on its current “The Great Awaits” campaign, running ads in print. That campaign, which showcases the excitement many consumers have around the outdoors, was extended to the new 30-second TV spot. The commercial features Orvis employees in many of their natural habitats.
“The social tension of anticipation is something we’re really good at celebrating with our customers,” says Perkins.
Orvis worked with Admirable Devil—the brand has worked with the Washington, D.C.-based shop on previous product marketing as well. The retailer’s internal 50-person creative team also helped with the effort. Chong + Koster handled media duties.
Since sales are up at Orvis—the chain grew 11 percent last year, according to Perkins—the marketing budget is also growing, though it remains the same percentage of revenue, Perkins notes. Orvis plans to watch how the new TV ads perform and spend accordingly in the second half of the year.
The established brand is one of many retailers recognizing the potential benefit of doubling down on TV. In recent years, several startups, many of them direct-to-consumer brands, like Quip, Away and Zola, that started online, have turned to TV in order to scale their brands. Shopify, the platform that helps startup retailers with payments and operations, recently began airing its first TV ads in North America as well. Meanwhile, Etsy, which was founded 14 years ago, last week said it is doubling down on TV after realizing the channel’s effectiveness.