Why Outdoor Retailer Orvis Is Finally Airing TV Ads

The brand's been around for 163 years, but this week marks its first on-air commercial

Screen grab from the new Orvis commercial, the brand's first TV ad
Screen grab from the new Orvis commercial, the brand's first TV ad

There’s a first time for everything, even if you’ve been around for over a century. Outdoor retailer Orvis has been open for business for nearly 200 years, but the brand is airing its first-ever television ad this week, Ad Age reported.

Previously, the Manchester, Vermont-based company has focused its advertising efforts on direct-response marketing, which has included catalog and paid digital ads. After 163 years, however, Orvis is ready to branch into TV ads in an effort to boost brand awareness, which chief operating officer Simon Perkins has identified as a weak spot for the company.

“We know we have low brand awareness,”  Perkins, told Ad Age. “When people get to know us, they like us, but we need to make it easier for them to get to know us.”

The new 30-second ad is an extension of the brand’s “The Great Awaits” campaign, which launched with print ads last year. Like the campaign’s other ads, the new commercial showcases outdoor activity and adventure.

With nearly 100 locations in the U.S. and U.K., Orvis has been seeing growth in recent years. According to Ad Age, sales are up for the brand, which grew 11 percent last year. The company’s marketing budget has also seen an increase. Perkins told Ad Age the plan is to monitor the performance of the TV ads and proceed accordingly.

While TV commercials may not exactly seem like the hot new thing in advertising, many other brands are also just now branching into the field. TV marketing has become an increasingly popular move among direct-to-customer startups, including Quip, Away and Zola, which have all recently launched television campaigns. Etsy, the e-commerce site that has been providing customers with custom and handmade products since 2005, also recently announced plans to ramp up their TV marketing.

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