Sears Canada lightens up in fall campaign

Retailer takes a more humorous approach to reach new generation of moms

Never mind the softer side of Sears – the retailer wants people to see its lighter side.

In a series of new TV spots, Sears Canada calls out people out for cutting through its stores on their way to the movies or other stores in the mall. A voice on the PA system tells shoppers to look at “all the ways we’re making Sears better” and calls attention to deals and products they’re passing by.

The campaign, created by Baltimore-based TB&C, promotes the launch of Sears’ new store format, which began rolling out last month. “We’re [poking] a little bit of fun at ourselves, saying ‘you’re coming through Sears to get to the movies, but as you’re doing that, we want to tell you there’s something new at Sears,’” said Vince Power, VP of corporate affairs and communications at Sears Canada.

Sears’ media agency of record, MediaCom, handled the buy. The ads target younger moms and air on conventional and specialty networks including CTV, Global, CBC, W Network and HGTV.

The campaign follows on the heels of Sears’ partnership with the Just for Laughs Festival 42, which took place in Toronto last month. Performer Amanda Brooke Perrin and fellow comedians Dena Jackson and Lindsay Mullan of The Second City spent a day pranking Sears’ customers, whose reactions were captured on hidden camera.

The video was created to celebrate the launch of the new concept store at Promenade Mall in Thornhill, Ont. Perrin also performed comedy shows at the Promenade location and Sears’ Mapleview Shopping Centre store in Burlington, Ont. Sears’ communications agency, Strategic Objectives, managed the Just for Laughs partnership.

Power said the revamped stores are centred around three core tenants: a curated (or tailored-down) assortment, “value priced right” and flexibility.

On the value front, Power said the idea was to offer “outstanding quality at amazing prices.”

“There’s a segment that’s going to always shop price only and there’s a segment at the other end of the spectrum that’s about higher-end designer brands, and those markets will always be there,” he said. “But there’s obviously a large segment in the middle. We built our success on that through the best years at Sears and now we’re just trying to get back to that spot.”

In terms of flexibility, the new Sears stores have polished concrete floors instead of carpeting and tile, which allows the retailer to expand or contract departments as needed. For example, “if children’s wear becomes very important in a market, and we want to expand that department, it used to be we were restricted because the children’s wear carpet ended right there,” said Power.

In addition, the stores have modular racks on wheels so they’re easily movable. “Seasonally, if we want to expand the outerwear shop in fall/winter and make room for swimwear in the spring/summer, we can do that easily now,” said Power.

With the new stores and marketing efforts, Sears is aiming to bring in the new generation of moms. “We’ve done a good job of maintaining the customer who was the mother of a growing family 20 years ago,” said Power. “She still shops with us and that’s great, and we need that customer. But, she doesn’t have the constant need for merchandise at Sears that she had when her family was growing. So, we need to do a better job of reaching out to the new mother.”

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