Until a few years ago, nearly all of Bonobos’ marketing efforts were performance-based ads that focused on driving shoppers to buy the brand’s products. In particular, the men’s apparel retailer, which has been owned by Walmart Inc. since 2017, was a heavy user of personalized marketing messages. At the same time, since 2011 it has also operated a growing number of “guideshops”—stores that allow consumers to try on clothes but don’t allow them to take any inventory (shoppers can place orders for home delivery). Those guideshops serve as experiential billboards for the brand.

However, the retailer almost never invested in bigger-picture branding campaigns to convey what distinguishes Bonobos, says Colleen Conkling, the retailer’s senior director of brand marketing. But that’s quickly changing.

The shift began in September 2017 when Bonobos launched its Role Models campaign to demonstrate how it offers pants that cover 172 sizes and fits. As part of the campaign, Bonobos created a 30-second TV commercial featuring…

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