Richards Bows Spots for Gander Mountain

DALLAS The Richards Group evokes empathy to promote the expertise of Gander Mountain’s staff in work that breaks today in spot markets.

In one commercial, a father and son, clad in bulky orange clothing, are walking in a snowy forest with hunting gear. As the father looks through his binoculars, ice on his cheek becomes visible. A voiceover says, “Most people don’t know cold. You know cold. Gander Mountain knows cold too. And yes, they’ve got great prices on hunting gear, clothing and footwear for any condition. Gander Mountain understands cold and the lifetime of warmth that coldness can create.”

Another spot that features two best friends fishing on a lake incorporates the same sentimental tone.

Both spots end with the voiceover saying the new tagline, “We live outdoors.” The previous tag was “Gander Mountain hunt-fish-camp.” Creative group head Gary Gibson said the new tag better differentiates the client from other retailers that sell hunting, fishing and camping equipment.

Gibson said the emphatic tone is important to reach the target audience in the competitive category. “Gander Mountain has always been known as where you go when you’re really serious about it, and I think that’s what makes it work,” he said. “We’re playing to people who want more than just a good price. [A typical employee] is not just some kid on spring break who needed a job.”

Client divisional vp of marketing Jeff Bergmann added that the new tag complements the client’s broadening product line, which includes more lifestyle items.

Bergmann said the spots target consumers 25-54 who love the outdoors. “The target market is predominantly the same, but we’re just getting more aggressive with it,” he said.

The TV effort, which breaks in the client’s markets, is the second stage of a campaign that first broke on radio in April. The client had debuted only one TV spot prior to hiring Richards in January, so the effort from the Dallas agency is considered a major push, though Bergmann declined to provide spending details. The client spent $4 million on media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Richards won the media business following a review; the outdoor retailer’s broadcast media incumbent was Cash Plus, a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group’s Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis. There was no review for creative chores; rather, Bergmann said Richards was chosen largely because of its retail experience and its relationship with Gander’s CEO, Mark Baker, who had worked with the agency when he was COO of its client Home Depot.

The Bloomington, Minn.-based client handles print media buying and all creative internally.

Gander operates 63 stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois and has said it plans to open eight or nine additional locations this year.