Mark’s welcomes women

The brand rolls out its store re-branding with a new campaign across the GTA.

Mark’s wants people to know it is about more than safety boots, rolling out a OOH, radio and digital focused campaign focusing on the Greater Toronto Area with an accompanying national TV buy.

The campaign, with creative and media from MacLaren McCann, focuses primarily on the Toronto market. It  promotes new-look stores in the GTA that have changed their interior and merchandise to focus more on women and casual mens’ wear, says Wendy Bennison, VP operations at Mark’s Work Wearhouse.

The revamped GTA stores come after Mark’s first experimented with dropping the ‘Works Wearhouse’ from its name at the Edmonton flagship store in 2008. It has slowly rolling out the new look stores in select locations since then, says Bennison.

“This is the biggest year yet for the rebranding,” says Bennison. “We have 60 stores that we are completely rebranding. That is what the marketing campaign is wrapped around, we virtually reinvented the store from front to back. The sign above the door has changed from Mark’s Work Wearhouse to just Mark’s. The other two words, although important to our heritage, were causing a lot of consumers to not choose us because they thought we were a different store.”

Bennison says Mark’s wanted to make the Toronto campaign its biggest ever, with new OOH ads promoting the brand’s new tagline, “Now welcoming women.”

“Mark’s is looking to change consumer perceptions, with an added focus on women,” she says. “We started with a focus on industrial, still have a chance to speak to a mens’ casual customer about the brand. Broadening the appeal, focusing on women.”

The campaign also features a series of one-day-only live billboards at locations across Toronto, including Yonge-Dundas Square, created with MacLaren McCann and Mark’s PR agency, High Road Communications.

  • SereneVistas

    As a woman who has shopped at MWW before, I find the “Now Welcoming Women” campaign a little odd. What? I wasn’t welcomed before? And, in a recent TV commercial they use the phrase “Mother Nature is Frigid”. I get the play on weather words but when you’re targeting your brand to women you really don’t want to use the word “frigid”. It was subtle but the link between women = frigid was made. My group of friends (male and female) also find the campaign slightly perplexing… like someone from the Mad Men era did the copy-writing. I understand what they are trying to do and think it’s a great company… but this campaign doesn’t speak to me in the way they probably intended.

    • chris

      Totally agree. It gives off a very unpleasant vibe. I’m completely put off from shopping Mark’s now.

  • Volo

    I completely agree. I find it actually rather offensive. Welcome to the 21st century Mark’s. You just lost any chance of my shopping with you.

  • Steve

    I don’t believe the idea is to alienate people, the fact is most people that are not “in the know” would have assumed Mark’s to be a men’s work supply store, most still know it as “Mark’s work warehouse” so the idea now is to remind those who do know, and welcome those who do not that there is new life at Mark’s and that is very inclusive of women’s clothing. In the past the women’s clothing recieved little attention and was meerly an add on to the stores, now it is seeing hte spotlight, hence the “welcoming”

  • Adrian Stiegler

    I was just talking to my gf about this, this morning. ANYTHING could have been better than ‘welcoming women’ tag line – absolutely horrible copy writing. I hope they didn’t pay an agency for that.

  • Katie Lintern

    Yep, as a woman who has shopped at Mark’s for many years for work-related clothing (yes I worked an outdoor labour job for a while), I find this rather offensive. I understand they’re trying to reach out to women who had no idea that Mark’s carried ANY women’s clothing, but by doing it in this manner they have completely alienated their original female customers. What their campaign says to us is either we were not real “women” or that we weren’t “welcome” before. Their men’s line campain slogan would have done just as well “Less work. More you” – why not?
    If anyone is particularly disturbed by this way-off-the-mark campaign, you can join my fellow friends at a local protest next Saturday, December 15th, from 12pm to 5pm at
    Mark’s Work Wearhouse, 65 Dundas Street West, Toronto. They plan on returning all women’s articles bought from Mark’s over the past few years.

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