Service Merchandise Tries a 2-in-1 Ad Strategy

Lighton Colman Ads Promote Hard-Line Goods, Jewelry Together
CHICAGO–Service Merchandise’s fight back from bankruptcy includes a campaign from Lighton Colman that pushes the chain’s hard-line goods alongside the jewelry for which it is best known.
“Right now we’re focusing on stabilizing the business, and this marketing campaign is a solid part of that stabilization,” said Dan McDonald, the retailer’s vice president of creative marketing.
Advertising hard-line goods and jewelry together is a new tactic for Service Merchandise, Brentwood, Tenn. “In our past, we have usually done a campaign that focused on one or the other,” McDonald said.
The company will keep the phrase “America’s leading jeweler” under its logo, but also highlight its home electronic offerings in the integrated campaign, breaking Sept. 1. The campaign’s theme, “What you need, what you want,” is followed by the tagline, “No place but Service Merchandise.”
“We can’t walk away from [the jewelry] totally; it’s been the core business for so long,” said Lori Colman, principal at Lighton Colman, Chicago.
Each TV spot features a customer who is satisfied with both product lines. A first-date-themed spot links a hairdryer and earrings, while another shows a man setting up a video camera to tape his engagement offer of a diamond solitaire ring.
“It’s a difficult thing to try and sell two stores in one,” said account director Liz Brohan.
Service Merchandise turned to Lighton Colman earlier this year based on a previous relationship with Brohan, McDonald said. Leo Burnett in Chicago previously handled the chain’s advertising.
Service Merchandise spent about $22 million on advertising in 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting. Through May of this year, spending was $4.3 million.
Earlier this year, the company closed one-third of its 350 stores in 34 states. –Jenn Goddu