Bob’s Stores Intros ‘Formal Guy’

A series of TV spots for Bob’s Stores introduces a mannequin-like character known as “The Formal Guy.” The commercials are the first work for the retail clothier by startup Velocity Advertising.

The Boston shop was hired in January for broadcast creative chores for the Meriden, Conn.-based client after a review. Cleveland Communications handles media. Spending is estimated in the $6-7 million range.

A quartet of “Formal Guy” spots, which carry the line, “Real casual. Real brands. Real great prices,” break this week in Boston, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., Albany, N.Y., and metropolitan New York. The commercials are a radical departure from Bob’s previous TV work, which had been fashioned by KGA Advertising, Middletown, Conn., and focused on humorous shopping-themed vignettes.

In a 30-second Velocity execution for the 35-store chain, a black-suited, stiff-looking male mannequin sits in a steaming sauna. A voiceover begins, “The formal guy. Will he ever learn? He’d feel so much better in casual clothes and footwear.”

The mannequin is subsequently shown engaging in various casual activities—such as a yoga class—always looking uncomfortable in his suit. The voiceover returns to conclude, “With a great selection for everyone, Bob’s Stores is one sure way to get comfortable.”

Velocity attempted to use an unexpected vehicle to portray Bob’s as “the No. 1 place to go for casual clothing and footwear,” said Lisa Hickey, Velocity’s founder, CEO and creative director.

In brainstorming the idea for the spots, Hickey said she asked herself, “what the antithesis of casual was—and then played off of that idea” to develop the mannequin motif for the client.

In another execution, a nose-plugged mannequin is shown perched on the side of a swimming pool. The voiceover asks, “The formal guy. Is he wound too tight? He needs a trip to Bob’s Stores. With casual clothes and footwear for everyone, Bob’s Stores can make it easier to relax.”

The four spots will run for several months, and Velocity will create a new round of “Formal Guy” commercials that will run in the second half of the year.

Velocity in February unveiled a TV campaign for the Just For Feet shoe store chain tagged, “Just right for you.”