Havas Chicago and Sears Give Us All ‘Two Weeks Notice’

By Erik Oster 

Havas Chicago’s latest campaign for Sears, “Duress” focuses on the impending death of everyday appliances like stoves, dishwashers and water heaters.

In “Two Weeks Notice,” for example, the voiceover informs us that “In just a few days, Carl’s dishwasher will die.” As it turns out, Carl can also hear the voiceover, and he’s not happy to learn that his dishwasher is on its last legs, a fact confirmed by the tomato soup ring in his bowl. The transition to Sears feels is an abrupt one, with Carl going from fearsome over his dirty dishes to happily eyeing up new dishwashers at Sears, seemingly transported instantly.

Other spots take a similar approach, focusing on a stove and a water heater. In the former, the punchline is that the voiceover lets a secret slip about the chili cheese cookoff for which a couple are eager to get a new oven, while in the latter a guy is transported to Sears wearing nothing but a towel after his shower is cut short by a failing water heater.

“I think everyone can agree, when a home appliance dies, it sucks. So we ran with that truth and positioned Sears as the go-to source for relief. Sears really is the iconic American brand that’s been helping people overcome duress situations for decades—they’re the experts,” Havas Chicago CCO Jason Peterson told Adweek.

The meta approach has become a well worn (if not worn out) trope in advertising lately. Here it provides an easy way to make the jump from failing appliances to finding replacements at Sears, which is repeatedly touted as “number one in appliance service.” It also lets Havas inform viewers about warning signs that it’s time to replace that dishwasher, oven or water heater, useful information that could also drive sales to Sears ahead of that cold shower or dishwasher disaster.


AGENCY: Havas Chicago
Chief Creative Officer, N.A:   Jason Peterson
Group Creative Director: Carlos Fernandez, Pat Hanna
Associate Creative Director(s): Eric Kripas, Scott Rench
Co-Head of Production, N.A: Dave Evans
Senior Producer:  Jorge Arana
Sr. Business Affairs Manager: Bonnie Hamilton
Business Affairs Manager: Sylvia Sanchez
Managing Director:  Amy Merchant
Group Account Director:  Jeanne Wu
Account Supervisor: Taylor DuFour
Asst. Account Executive:  Mandy Pitera
Project Manager: Kristin Oberg
Havas Media Team: Renee Crawford, Lindsey Susick, Allie Murphy

Production Company: Sugar Film Production
Director: Chris Smith
Producer: Tony Miglini
Line Producer: Brandon Tapp
Photographer: Afshin Shahidi

Editorial Company: Cutters
Editor: Adam Parker
Assistant Editor: Dustin Kaufman
Producer: Craig Duncan
Post Producer: Heather Richardson
Colorist, company: Brian Higgins
VFX & Finish Company: Flavor
VFX Supervisor: Neal Cohen
Music Composer, Company: Another Country / APM Music