Mark’s more casual approach to the simple things in life

To be seen for more than work clothes (and reach a bigger market segment) the retailer gets more direct about casual wear in a new brand platform.


Mark’s is continuing to try and move beyond the “Work Warehouse” part of its identity, launching a brand repositioning to show that it has the casual wear that can help customers devote more time to life’s simple moments.

In a series of TV spots for “All Things Simple,” a father takes his daughter on a “world tour” of nature and the outdoors in a checkered sweater and denim jeans. In another spot, it shows a woman laying on her bed with her cat, in socks, jeans and a sweater, reading. The main message Mark’s is trying to get across is how during the complicated times that people are living in, it’s the simple moments that matter the most – and having simple-yet-stylish clothes makes it easier to enjoy them.

Cartier worked on the campaign and new platform.

Mark’s last brand platform, “Well Worn,” focused on the working-class spirit that could be found in many Canadians, a grittier and less product-focused approach to building its brand that was later applied more directly to its selection of casual wear. According to Eva Salem, VP of marketing at Canadian Tire, “All Things Simple” is “the next evolution of that,” as the brand looks to expand its customer base and continue changing the perception that it’s not a place for casual clothing.

“We saw that we still had a lot of opportunity with casual [wear] customers looking for simple, stylish clothing that suited them and their lifestyle,” says Salem, who took on added marketing duties for Canadian Tire’s Mark’s portfolio earlier this year after the departure of previous head of marketing David Lui. “There was a fairly decent size of the market that we thought our assortment could service, but people still weren’t considering Marks for that type of clothing.”

The industrial work wear Mark’s has been synonymous with is, quite simply, not as big a consumer segment as casual wear. And with more people working from home due to the pandemic, there has been even more demand for casual clothing in recent months.

Salem says Mark’s has been under-represented in the casual wear space, and this is a more “direct and overt” attempt to reach those consumers. Creative has a more direct callout to an assortment Salem says it simply hasn’t talked about in the past. Some of the spots also feature women’s styles, reaching a target that has traditionally been less of a focus for the retailer.

The brand also wanted to make itself more relatable to various customers and their personal styles, she adds – not everyone ventures out on fishing boat or works on a motorcycle in their garage, but everyone enjoys spending time with their loved ones or relaxing with a hobby. Connecting the joys of life’s simple moment to the fact that people can look good without devoting too much time to style helps it get at that in a more emotionally relevant way.

“It makes sense to continue to grow the brand and its relevancy to a wider and bigger demographic,” Salem says. “Our assortment was already casual, we have been on that journey for years. It was about making sure that people realize that and knew that they had an option with Mark’s.”

Tocuhé! handled the media buy for the campaign, which will appear nationally on TV and in paid digital and social spots.