Ad Changes ‘Guaranteed’ at Sears

Under a New Strategy, Retailer Is Set to Emphasize Brands, Value
CHICAGO–Sears, Roebuck & Co. is expected to focus on brands and value–perhaps even “guaranteeing” both–when it unveils its new umbrella advertising strategy this week.
Introductory TV spots from Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago will tout the breadth of products Sears sells. The campaign will employ a theme along the lines of: “All the good things in life, guaranteed.”
The TV commercials will key on the specific brands offered at Sears while also emphasizing value pricing, sources said. Unlike past work, Sears’ lines of hard and soft goods will not be separated as they were under the previous “Softer side of Sears” approach.
The campaign will include work from fellow roster shop Young & Rubicam’s New York and Chicago offices, sources said.
Sears and agency officials declined comment on the campaign.
The Hoffman Estates, Ill., retailer asked its agencies earlier this year to develop a value-oriented campaign to succeed “Softer Side,” which was adopted in 1993 in a major makeover.
Mark Cohen, Sears’ executive vice president of marketing, at the time offered a basic outline of the new strategy. He said the retailer’s future ad efforts would position Sears as a “value-packed, fashionable store” [Adweek, June 21].
The new positioning comes as Sears is feeling increased competition from all sides, and particularly from discount retailers such as Target Stores and Wal-Mart.
The agencies were asked to create a campaign that utilized the word “guarantee,” sources said. While O&M is taking the lead on the new campaign’s introductory efforts, Y&R is believed to have devised the positioning.
Sears officials have said the campaign represents a “collaborative” effort between the two shops.
Jack Trout, president of Greenwich, Conn.-based marketing consultant Trout & Partners, was called in during the process and encouraged the company to focus on its well-known brands such as Craftsman, Die Hard and Kenmore.
“What built the company was their brands, and what makes them unique is their brands,” Trout said.
Sears is in the process of cutting its vendor base by 15 percent to make room for in-store shops that will sell products branded by ESPN and Benetton Group.
Sears spent $720 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
–with staff reports