Danier partners with Bell on winter promotion

Program coincides with key selling period for the Canadian retailer

Danier Bell 1In an attempt to bolster its reputation as a cold-weather destination, apparel retailer Danier has partnered with Bell Media on a multimedia program called Discover How Danier Does Winter.

The program, which debuted Monday and runs through Dec. 27, was developed in association with Danier’s agency, Geomedia.

“We really honed in on this timeframe because it’s a key jacket buying time and there’s also the December gift-giving time,” said Steve Muscat, group manager, Bell Media Mix, which developed the program.

In a note to shareholders in Danier’s most recent annual report, president and CEO Jeffrey Wortsman said the company was looking to extend its offer to become “Canada’s destination for warmth,” noting it had increased its selection of down jackets and fur colours and has added more full-length outerwear.

The Bell Media Mix initiative includes in-show integration on key CTV programs including eTalk, The Marilyn Denis Show and The Social beginning this week, as well as sponsorship of CP24’s daily weather forecasts and promos on Bell Media radio stations.

The campaign debuted on eTalk on Monday with a segment devoted to celebrity-inspired outerwear trends, while an upcoming feature on daytime talk show The Social will provide lessons on how to create “luxe” winter warmth using Danier merchandise. That will be followed by a live fashion show on the Nov. 6 episode of The Marilyn Denis Show, and a mini-makeover segment on Dec. 4.

Each segment features Bell Media’s resident fashion expert Erica Wark, who is a regular on the three programs.

“We wanted to make sure we tailored the Danier message to each show’s audience,” said Muscat. “It was a bit of a circus act, because we had to make sure that we weren’t being redundant across the three shows, and were giving people a different view on Danier.”

The program is broadly aimed at women 25-54 and is intended to position Danier as a retailer that carries not just leather, but a broad line of quality cold-weather garments and accessories.

The marketing initiative has been in development for approximately nine months, and follows a previous marketing program that saw Danier’s products featured in a holiday-related segment on The Marilyn Denis Show called “10 Days of Giveaways.”

In addition to the program’s TV components, Danier is also being featured in twice-hourly sponsorship of CP24’s weather coverage, and in e-newsletters for The Loop and The Marilyn Denis Show that have approximately 275,000 subscribers.

The company is also being featured in closed-captioning announcements on CTV both this week and the week of Nov. 30, along with announcer-read spots on 104.5 CHUM-FM and live tags on various Bell Media stations.

The program comes during a period of uncertainty for Danier, a fixture in Canadian retail that finds itself challenged by online retailers and changing customer tastes.

Wortsman described the retailer’s 2015 and 2014 financial performance – which produced net losses of $19.9 million and $7.7 million, respectively – as “unacceptable,” attributing the losses in part to procuring fall and winter merchandise that was “not aligned to current fashion trends.”

Management analysis for fiscal 2015 said the company failed to order sufficient quantities of down coats, fur collars and full-length outerwear, a miscalculation exacerbated by an “extremely cold and long” winter season.

This led to a negative impact on sales in what has traditionally been the company’s busiest selling season, resulting in a build-up of inventory that required large discounts to clear.

The company said future branding and digital marketing would reinforce Danier’s reputation for affordable luxury, emphasizing key tenets such as sophistication, luxury, value and differentiation. “The objective is to appeal to a broader base of customers without alienating Danier’s core customers,” said the company.

The 86-store chain is also looking to increase its online sales from 1.5% of total sales in 2015 to more than 10% by fiscal 2017, and is using social media, mobile and search to target and attract customers.

Danier projected another unprofitable year in fiscal 2016, but predicted that losses would be lower than experienced in the past two years. It also acknowledged its ability to return to profitability could be compromised if it misjudges fashion trends or consumer preferences, or if its marking programs prove less successful than anticipated.

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