Droga5 named West Elm's first creative agency

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Retailer is on a mission to democratize design

West Elm, the Brooklyn-based design and furniture retailer, is making its first foray into advertising, hiring Droga5 as its creative agency.

The agency was awarded the business without a pitch, with talks starting four months ago.

The business will be run out of New York as the brand focuses on its expansion in the US. It will also be looking to raise West Elm’s profile globally, Jonny Bauer, global chief strategy officer at Droga5, told Campaign.

The retailer’s first ad campaign by Droga5 will roll out in the fall and will be a "non-traditional" integrated campaign, with social media at its core, Bauer said.

"West Elm wants to change the way that people perceive what design is and what it should be able to do," he said.

Bauer explained that West Elm’s mission is to "democratize" design, unlike other retailers in the category that try to "prescribe a style." He said the brand’s "purpose" aligns with Droga5’s and the companies have great chemistry.

West Elm, which is owned by homeware retail group Williams-Sonoma has experienced its fifth year fifth straight year of double-digit comparable brand revenue growth, making it Williams-Sonoma’s fastest growing brand. "Our biggest ambition for West Elm is that we make a positive impact on the world. From a financial perspective, we’re confident that West Elm can be a billion dollar brand," said Vanessa Holden, SVP, creative director at West Elm.

A focus of the marketing activity will be around West Elm’s socially conscious business practices, which include supply chain transparency and ethical sourcing.

"We think about the financial and social impact of every dollar we spend. And we want our customers to do the same with every purchase they make," said Holden.

Currently, West Elm’s marketing is largely direct response marketing, social media and content marketing, run by its in-house team. "Providing inspirational content for our customers and being a connector of like minded strangers will always be part of our brand strategy," Holden said. 

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