Macy’s “Carlos and Mariah”

In our celebrity-besotted age, it counts as a miracle of sorts that Macy’s has managed to make the use of celebs in commercials seem fresh. You may recall last year’s spot in which various celebrities primped their branded areas of the store (The Donald with his ties, The Martha with her domestic goods, etc.) as the doors were about to open for the day. In this new spot (from JWT in New York), the principal focus is on Carlos Santana, the guitarist who has reinvented himself as a shoe designer, of all things. Mariah Carey, whose fragrance line is sold at the store, makes a good interlocutor for Santana, having regained her girlish charm after a rough patch. When Santana informs us that “shoes are like women — they inspire beautiful music,” you may wish he’d stuck to playing the guitar. There are nice moments here, though, as when Martha Stewart starts grooving to Santana’s tune (closing her eyes and swaying) or when Trump plays the unmusical heavy (“My ties are beautiful. They don’t need music.”). It’s probably in the nature of things that a sequel won’t seem as inventive as the original, and this spot isn’t as much fun as the first Macy’s celeb-centric spot. But it’s quite fun enough to underscore the point that Macy’s has all sorts of non-generic merchandise. Even if you don’t care about these particular celebs (or about celebs in general), you come away feeling that Macy’s has merchandise with personality.--Mark Dolliver