To win over the Canadian market, Nordstrom is borrowing from its U.S. playbook.
On Monday, the company debuted its first national Canadian campaign, titled “True Nord.” Shot in Toronto by native-Canadian photographer Justin Tyler Close, the included images and videos feature 13 Canadians — models and inspiring non-models — representing various ages, races, religions, sexes and sizes, meant to celebrate locals’ individuality and diversity.
The Canadian campaign will encompass digital ads, TV, YouTube, out-of-home placements (including billboards and posters in transit shelters), social media, the local e-commerce site, Nordstrom.ca, and TV. Scott Meden, Nordstrom’s CMO, said the company recently upped its overall TV spend, but declined to specify the rate of increase. As in the U.S., Canadian Nordstrom stores have dedicated Instagram accounts, at the ready to run the ads: Vancouver’s @nordstromvan and Toronto’s @nordstomto have 40,000 and 18,000 followers, respectively, which speaks to Canadians’ excitement for the brand. To compare, @nordstromthegrove, in Nordstrom’s top market of LA, has just 12,000 followers. @nordstromsf has 6,000.
“True Nord” was inspired by “True North,” a phrase in the Canadian national anthem — ”Nord,” plucked from “Nordstrom,” means “north” in Canada’s co-official language of French. Lines including “strong and free,” “with glowing hearts” and “from far and wide,” also in the anthem, were worked into the commercial’s on-screen text and voice-over.
Meden said Nordstrom sees the featured Canadians as influencers — though they weren’t likely chosen for their social media follower count. They include Biko Beauttah, a transgender United Nations Goodwill Ambassador; Harjas Singh, a fashion stylist and consultant, who tags his posts with #sikhstyle; Mel Kobayashi, the 50-something founder of the Bag and a Beret fashion blog; and Yolanda May Largie, co-founder of The Canadian Curvies, a group celebrating body positivity. Each has between 1,200 to 35,000 Instagram followers.