Luxury Retailer Pirch Taps Design Celebs to Market Its New York Debut

Home Appliance Brand Will Run Campaign Featuring Nate Berkus, Padma Lakshmi

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Pirch will feature fashion icon Iris Apfel in new ads.
Pirch will feature fashion icon Iris Apfel in new ads. Credit: Pirch

Pirch, the high-end home appliance store known for letting its customers take a shower or heat up some eggs on premises, is opening a flagship in New York and it's debuting a new campaign to spread the word. The retailer, which will open a 32,000 square-foot showroom in SoHo May 21, has tapped celebrities such as Nate Berkus, Padma Lakshmi, Geoffrey Zakarian and Iris Apfel to market its brand.

In a series of out-of-home advertisements including billboards, subway station and bus wraps, Pirch will announce its New York presence. In one image, Mr. Berkus is shown in an LG Studio kitchen with the tagline, "It's just a store, like I'm just a decorator." In another, Ms. Apfel, the fashion icon, takes a bubble bath. Her line reads, "It's just a store, like I'm just an old lady." Pirch will boost the marketing with social media and is rolling out a new website as well.

"What sets the brand apart is the human experience -- the ability to interact with guests who walk into the showroom and experience the products," said Laith Murad, who joined as Pirch's first chief marketing officer last year from Yahoo. He noted that Pirch's previous advertising, which just featured a showroom alone, lacked emotional depth. "We looked at this campaign from the approach of explaining and establishing Pirch as a lifestyle, experiential brand."

Pirch worked with New York-based Barker on the campaign. It's the first of its kind for the seven-year-old retailer, which competes with the likes of Home Depot and Lowe's on some appliances, like a Samsung dishwasher, but also sells custom cooking ranges costing well over $100,000. The San Diego-based company keeps a chef on-site in its nine showrooms so customers who want to test a stove or other appliance are able to see the product in action. Picky shoppers curious about the pressure of a showerhead or faucet are also encouraged to take a bath at the store -- behind a closed curtain, of course. Such experiences have led to strong word-of-mouth marketing for the brand, which had $225 million in sales in 2015, according to a source.

Going experiential is a strategy many stores are embracing. Indeed, with ad blocking growing online, and the cost of real estate climbing in key shopping areas, retailers are looking to get the most marketing mileage out of their brick-and-mortar sites. In recent months, brands including Samsung and Staples are diversifying their stores with more experiences and fewer stocked shelves.

Though Mr. Murad declined to specify how much Pirch is spending on its current campaign, he did say it's a double-digit increase over last year. In 2015, the brand spent $584,200 on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media. Pirch plans to open its tenth store in Austin next year.

Clarification: This story has been updated to include a more recent annual sales figure for Pirch.

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