Simons, the 175-year-old fashion retailer based in Quebec, entered the Vancouver market with relatively low brand awareness. In addition to a robust media relations campaign and a 900-person opening event at its new store – an unveiling of the art, fashion and other unique attributes of the 100,000-square-foot space – Jane Gill PR created a multi-faceted community engagement strategy to build awareness and drive traffic. The strategy also involved demonstrating Simons’ retail legacy and its commitment to art, architecture and design, both in West Vancouver, where Simons was opening the new store, and in the downtown Vancouver core.
Simons sponsored the Style in Film series — part of the Vancouver International Film Festival — in the lead up to opening. 3,000 attendees were presented with a Simons tote containing a letter from the CEO and a FW16 Simons magazine. Simons head of marketing spoke about style and film on a panel for the series.
As a major community partner, Simons made a financial contribution to kick off the capital campaign for the Centre of Art, Architecture + Design. The new West Vancouver museum is set to be built by 2019.
Simons sponsored the Vancouver Biennale and its Blue Trees installation with artist Konstantin Dimopoulos to help build environmental awareness. A community pigmenting party was held outside the Park Royal store with the CEO of Simons, the Vancouver Biennale president and the artist. The first 175 participants received tree saplings to take home in celebration of Simons’ 175th anniversary.
Simons developed a three-year partnership with Arts Umbrella to support scholarships and programming and to exhibit student art in store. At launch and for the year, a selection of 15 pieces of art by artists 8-18 years of age will be displayed in the store’s café, which will be updated annually. A set of notecards featuring the selected art was created and sold in store, with all proceeds benefitting the organization.