Women Feel Pressure Dressing Families At Easter

Underlying premise of new Payless ads

Easter brings a welcome end for winter-weary consumers and, for retailers, the opportunity to move shoppers into the lighter, brighter apparel and accessories of spring and summer.

The National Retail Federation says Americans will spend about $145 per person on candy, décor, apparel and food this Easter for a total of $17.2 billion. While that amount is the same as last year, Americans’ discretionary income is obviously being hit harder now with higher payroll taxes so their spending habits are becoming even more cautious. According to the NRF’s Easter spending survey, some 63 percent of consumers are shopping at discount stores this holiday season.

For a discounter like Payless ShoeSource, Easter is always a big selling season. Last year, in the second quarter, the company spent $19.5 million on measured media according to Nielsen, the most Payless spent in one period in a year where overall marketing investment totaled $62 million. Payless’s new lead agency, Marc USA, says Easter, with its traditions and church focus, is the one holiday where women feel a lot of pressure to "present" their family publicly in new outfits and they say they are judged by how well they do that.

“Moms are increasingly under pressure at Easter to make their families look good and they don’t have have the flexibility to spend as much as they would like,” said Cari Bucci, general manager of Marc, Chicago.

The agency’s new campaign for Payless features a mom addressing the issues of cost, peer pressure and the judgmental challenges of getting her family looking up to expectation for Easter. In one TV spot, a young woman alludes to those pressures about outfitting her children while her own mother tenders a few critical glances.

“Easter is one of those report-card times for mothers,” said Bucci.