TAXI imprints Williams-Sonoma top-drawer status

Cooking buffs have been waiting with bated breath for the opening of Canada's first Williams-Sonoma stores this fall.

Cooking buffs have been waiting with bated breath for the opening of Canada’s first Williams-Sonoma stores this fall. The San Francisco-based upscale kitchenware retailer opened its doors in Toronto’s Eaton Centre on Oct. 20. A second Toronto store will open in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Nov. 3, and a third will come to Bloor Street West in spring 2002.

To spread the word, Toronto-based TAXI Advertising & Design came up with a three-month multi-layered advertising campaign to boost awareness in the Toronto market, incorporating subway posters, transit, mall and outdoor posters as well as a newspaper print element.

‘Williams-Sonoma is recognized as the ultimate store for cooks,’ says Zak Mroueh, creative director at TAXI. ‘We just took elements of that existing brand personality from the U.S. and put our own spin on it.’

The crux of this campaign is to focus on the individual cooking products and present them as the very best that money can buy. ‘People who are truly passionate about cooking are really excited about these stores coming to Toronto,’ says Mroueh. ‘The people we are talking to are the ones who really love to cook and entertain. To them, a kitchen is a canvas where their creations take place. The products in Williams-Sonoma are renowned for amazing quality so we wanted to really focus on that element and bring it to life in our ads.’

The ads, all in black and white, each feature a kitchen tool and a simple message that wittily sums up its best-of-breed status.

Under each picture is the catchline: ‘Williams-Sonoma. The place for cooks,’ together with a list of opening dates and the store Web site address.

The campaign was launched in two phases. A soft launch on Oct. 8 saw the introduction of limited mall banners to gradually increase awareness within the Eaton Centre. This was followed by the full launch on Oct. 20, incorporating horizontal and vertical billboard posters around both malls, as well as subway ads at Queen, Dundas and Yorkdale stations. A superboard poster will go up at Yorkdale, and print ads will run in the Globe & Mail for three weeks starting Oct. 29. From Nov. 19, transit shelters will also be targeted around the city.

‘It’s a clean, simple look with intelligent and witty writing,’ explains Mroueh. ‘The writing on all the ads is meant to be thought-provoking, sophisticated and classic, while the creative speaks for itself. You don’t have to think about it a lot. We’re trying to create the idea that if you want the ultimate corkscrew that will last for years, Williams-Sonoma is the place to go.’

The campaign will be expanded to include a Christmas theme in late November. Following the same format, an additional ad will be launched, featuring a selection of knives, and the words: ‘This Christmas, spread joy and brie.’

Mroueh says the campaign is expected to continue with further executions next year.

TAXI will also soon be launching a campaign on behalf of Williams-Sonoma’s home furnishing chains, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, which are both due to open stores in Toronto this fall.