Mervyn’s Enlists Frosty for Ads Holiday TV Spots From Ron Foth Also Feature David Cassidy

Mervyn’s department stores secured an exclusive deal with Warner Bros. to use its Frosty the Snowman character as part of a $25 million holiday campaign. The effort will also include TV spots starring David Cassidy.

The pact marks the first time the snowman has been linked with a major retailer for the holidays. The centerpiece of the campaign is a 30-second spot from Ron Foth Advertising, Columbus, Ohio, that features new Frosty animation and Mervyn’s representative Wendy Braun. She sleds down a hill on Frosty’s back straight to Mervyn’s, where “the first 700 folks get a free Frosty bobblehead.” The giveaway kicks off Nov. 23.

The Frosty the Snowman animated special has aired on TV virtually every year since its debut in 1969. Mervyn’s, owned by Minneapolis-based Target, obtained rights to the character as part of its six-year marketing and promo-tional relation-ship with Warner Bros., said Frank Castiglione, svp of marketing for Mervyn’s, Hayward, Calif.

“We’ve added a new layer of fun to our holiday program. This is a radical departure for us,” said Castiglione. “In this competitive retail environment, it’s good for us to go out and try different things. Properties like Frosty and David Cassidy allow us to continue to deliver on our brand promise of being a differentiated store within the retail niche.”

Ads in the holiday campaign will begin running Nov. 22 in Mervyn’s 14 U.S. markets. Spanish-language spots will air on Telemundo and Univision.

“Magic in the making” point of purchase materials will tout Frosty and 18 Frosty-inspired items for sale at all 264 Mervyn’s stores. The line includes a Frosty throw pillow, towel set and musical Christmas stocking. Radio and print also support the effort. Frosty will make six live appearances on behalf of the chain at events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Hollywood Christmas Parade.

In a 30-second spot starring Cassidy, Braun is wrapping gifts when carolers come calling. She opens the door and sees the pop icon, who serenades her Vegas-style to the tune of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Do You Believe in Magic?” complete with snow pixie backup singer/dancers. When he finishes, she says, “I think I love you,” a reference to the 1970 single that helped turn Cassidy into a teen idol.