Fast-growing startup Trouva promotes an ‘independent retail future’ with debut TV ad

Trouva – one of Marketing Week’s 100 Disruptive Brands for 2017 – is using its debut TV ad to give independent boutiques the same exposure as the likes of John Lewis and Amazon.

Trouva, the online ecommerce platform for independent retailers, is hoping its inaugural TV ad campaign will give boutiques the same exposure as retail’s global heavyweights.

The online marketplace, which was named one of Marketing Week’s 100 Disruptive Brands in 2017 and has grown by 1,509% over the past 18 months, beat off stiff competition from 200 fellow startups to win a fully funded TV campaign created by media agency All Response Media.

Debuting today (1 November) on Sky and running for a further 30 days, the ‘Trouva Street’ concept showcases a selection of the 350 boutiques signed up to the platform including London-based Indish and Cassius & Coco, as well as Brighton’s Our Daily Edit and The Good Times Homestore in Lewes, West Sussex.

“For us it was about giving these smaller shops the chance to be on TV,” explains creative brand director Lucy Ward.

“We want our shops to have the same opportunities that John Lewis and Amazon have. We want to give them access to the same technology and marketing that they do. We’re very passionate about our companies and the independent future, and it really is about these shops thriving in the future, offline and online.”

“I’m not going to bad mouth any of the mass market places, but they are convenience buys.

Lucy Ward, Trouva

Playing into the company’s purpose of helping independent shops on the high street “thrive, not just survive”, 85% of the ad focuses on the retailers’ bricks-and-mortar identity, while filming inside the shops shows how the boutique owners use the online part of the service.

Everyone featured in the ad is either the shopkeeper or an assistant, explains Ward, who insists the company would never use actors as that would go against Trouva’s identity as a “human company” dealing with real people.

“This is real life. Yes we want our independents to be able to offer an amazing online service such as click-and-collect or one-hour deliveries, but we are trying to offer a shopping experience online that is about curation and discovery,” she adds.

“I’m not going to bad mouth any of the mass market places, but they are convenience buys. They don’t give you a warm feeling inside, whereas on Trouva we want to do more.”

READ MORE: 100 Disruptive Brands – Trouva on being the ‘antithesis’ of online shopping giants

The advert will be part of a wider integrated campaign focused primarily on content marketing, with an added social media and digital element aimed at getting as many “eyeballs” on the creative as possible.


The brand is using the Sky exposure to trial TV as a platform, which if successful could see it taking the Trouva Street concept beyond TV to other channels. The main measure of success will be increased traffic to the website and a greater number of consumers shopping with the boutiques on the platform. Trouva also hopes the campaign will attract more retailers to join its boutique community, which currently spans more than 350 shops nationwide.

Positioning itself as a scaling startup, Trouva was named one of Europe’s top five fastest growing tech businesses by The Next Web. Ward puts the company’s success down to being fierce about its brand purpose, combined with a real sense of good timing.

“I think consumers don’t just want the convenience buys, they want those purchases that mean a little bit more and they want something in their house that they can talk to their friends about,” she explains.

“There are more and more people who aren’t wanting to shop at chains all the time. Yes, a lot of our customers do shop at the chains, but it’s nice to come to Trouva and buy something a little more special. So it’s a mixture of our direction, knowing where we’re going and being really fierce about that, plus the timing of consumers wanting something else.”