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Department Store Holiday Commercials Go All Out To Steal Hearts

December 10, 2019 Sarah Cavill

Bustling department stores are a sure sign of the holidays. Despite online shopping growing faster than brick-and-mortar shopping, department stores and big box stores remain important shopping options for many consumers, with 90% of holiday shoppers predicted to make in-store purchases this year. For major retailers, differentiating themselves with commercials can be a captivating way to engage consumers and bring shoppers into stores.

Macy’s Promotes Their “Believe” Campaign With A Santa-Inspired Commercial

The Macy’s “Believe” campaign, a multichannel marketing and promotional effort that includes commercials, mobile strategies and a partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation, is built around children’s belief in Santa Claus. The latest Macy’s commercial “Santa Girl” asks viewers to “Believe in the Wonder” after a little girl wants nothing more than to be Santa Claus, spreading joy in her small town. Her enthusiasm isn’t well-received until her supportive parents help her bring cheer and gifts to the locals, just like her hero Santa Claus. Macy’s is synonymous with Christmas for many consumers, so the act of creating heartwarming, memorable commercials that create nostalgia and brand awareness is an integral part of Macy’s holiday engagement.

TJ Maxx, Marshalls And Home Goods Remind Shoppers To Enjoy The Holiday

In 2016, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods, all owned by TJX Companies, wanted their shoppers to “Bring Back the Holidays.” By taking advantage of the efficiency and one-stop shopping available at these retailers, shoppers have more time to enjoy their families. Holiday commercials can be a successful way to differentiate from other brands, which TJX does effectively in these spots by showing joyful holiday revelers who also happen to be exchanging thoughtfully selected, but varied, gifts.

Target Creates A Holiday Adventure To Promote Toys

In 2015, Target created a five-part commercial series following the adventures of two children and the Target dog through Target’s toy land as they try to find the burned-out lightbulb stopping the Christmas tree in toy land from lighting. Minions, Barbie, LEGO and Olaf make cameos along the way, as the retailer highlights toys, food and candy offerings while promoting Target’s ongoing holiday deals and free shipping. Eventually, a star is plucked from the sky to light the tree and much rejoicing ensues. Target repeated the commercial series concept in 2017.

Marks & Spencer Spotlights Mrs. Claus In A Heartwarming Spot About The Meaning Of Christmas

This high-concept commercial from British brand Marks & Spencer (M&S) shines the spotlight on Mrs. Claus. Played by Oscar-nominated actress Janet McTeer, Mrs. Claus steps in to secure a last-minute gift while Santa and his reindeer are out doing their thing on Christmas Eve. Mrs. Claus’s high-tech operation is lots of fun, but the story inside of the story, of a young brother and sister having trouble connecting, is where Mrs. Claus’s adventure and the true meaning of Christmas make this a truly special commercial for the season.

Marshall Field’s Captures Holiday Magic In Chicago

Beloved by Chicagoans, the late, great Marshall Field’s, acquired by Macy’s in 2005, created a spot capturing the magic of Christmas and the special Chicago setting meaningful to so many Field’s shoppers. The spot begins in the screen of a tablet and travels through snow globes, cozy homes and bustling streets, embracing the dreamy quality of the holiday with a whispery rendition of “White Christmas” accompanying the action.   

During the holidays, consumers may be more likely to be moved by heartwarming commercials or spots that make them feel good about spending money with specific retailers. For department or big box stores looking to reach holiday shoppers, creative executions should focus on the messages the most represent their brands’ holiday outlooks, as perceived by consumers, which could include nostalgia, saving time or making connections. A sweet, happy commercial can become a memorable part of a brand’s holiday campaign.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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