The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Best Buy vs. Big Lots

Source: Big Lots - "Decorated big. Save lots.
Dec 12, 2019

Sixty-four percent of those voting in last week’s RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge rated Macy’s “Santa Girl” commercial either four stars (14 percent) or five (50 percent). This week’s matchup between Best Buy and Big Lots may not provide the same level of creative storytelling as Macy’s spot, but each features a unique take on playing to each chain’s strengths. Which one comes away the winner is up to you.

Best Buy’s “Be sure your gift will fit” spot features one of the chain’s blue shirt associates offering expert advice to a customer. Like other spots in the chain’s holiday season campaign, an associate appears unexpectedly to address a customer concern — in this case, what size television to buy. While this spot deviates from reality more than others in Best Buy’s holiday campaign, its point is still made.

Big Lots, the seller of discontinued merchandise and other discounted products, goes upbeat with its “Decorate Big. Save Lots.” spot and includes a reminder that customers can purchase online and pick up in-store.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your critique of the Christmas spots from Best Buy and Big Lots? Which retailer does a better job of connecting with its core customers while reaching out to new shoppers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"The trick for Big Lots is to ensure that the store experience lives up to the spirit of the ad."

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12 Comments on "The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Best Buy vs. Big Lots"

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Dave Wendland

Big Lots gets my vote. Fun, interesting, and lively. That’s a great image for this type of retailer who thrives on the adventure of the shopping trip. Best Buy’s attempt never grabbed my attention nor, in my opinion, resonated with the liveliness of the holidays.

Jeff Sward

Gotta go with Big Lots, by a wide margin. It’s festive and it feels like Christmas. It’s obvious in its message; decorating headquarters. The Best Buy spot falls flat. I don’t find the attempt at humor to be humorous. It would have been more effective to talk about being the “go-to” store for TVs. TV headquarters. So no humor and no headquarters leaves a “meh” feeling.

Neil Saunders

I go with Big Lots. It’s fun and engaging and very Christmasy. The Best Buy advert is, at very best, mildly amusing the first time you see it. But it has no longevity: it will just get annoying on repeated airings.

Georganne Bender

Both of these commercials stay true to their brand when compared to previous/current marketing.

The man’s confusion in the Best Buy commercial is funny; the Big Lots spot puts you in the Christmas spirit. The commercials are hard to compare because they are so different, but I am going with Best Buy because it’s clever. The Big Lots spot is happy, but it’s just another “Let’s buy stuff because it’s Christmas” commercial.

Dick Seesel

The Best Buy ad is an extension of their ongoing campaign where associates in blue polos show up unexpectedly to problem-solve. It reinforces the message that shoppers can find knowledgeable help inside a physical store, but it doesn’t shout “holiday spirit” despite the humorous twist.

The Big Lots ad, on the other hand, is much more appealing as a holiday-themed ad. It pushes the right buttons (the music, the home decor) and dresses up what can be a pretty drab shopping trip. The trick for Big Lots is to ensure that the store experience lives up to the spirit of the ad.

Dave Wendland

Your comment about the store experience at Big Lots is spot on, Dick. If consumers are enthused about the excitement and energy of the ad and then underwhelmed with their experience, it’s a wasted investment.

Jeff Weidauer

I have to jump on the bandwagon and go with Big Lots. It’s upbeat, fun and makes the point. Best Buy is funny, but a darker point could be made that their customers aren’t very smart – not sure that’s what they want to say.

W. Frank Dell II

Best Buy’s commercial revolves around how big of a TV will fit down a chimney. Cute but a very weak storyline. Big Lots is all about decorating the house for Christmas. It shows a range of products that can be found in the store. Big Lots wins easily for selling products.

Ed Rosenbaum

I agree with those posting ahead of me that the Big Lots ad was more festive and possibly more entertaining. But Best Buy gets my vote this week. If for no other reason than I thought it was funny and it put a smile on my face.

Heidi Sax

Best Buy is betting on experience, but Big Lots on value and their commercials reflect that. The Best Buy ad provides subtle context: our people are here for you and they know their stuff. It didn’t make me laugh, but it was cute. Big Lots’ ad doesn’t bring anything new to the table, or tease what you can actually expect, in terms of service or experience, if you visit their store. Just lots for less.

Craig Sundstrom

Another non-competitive showdown: Best Buy was amusing, short and squeezed in some product info; Big Lots was just a jumble of loudness and images.

That having been said, something about the BB spot just didn’t work (which is perhaps reflected in its middling scores): I think it’s the incongruity of the sales associate being on the roof — and underdressed for the cold … perhaps it would have worked better if she had been on the ground, talking to the friend instead.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.

Best Buy’s humor is my vote. It reinforces the retailer’s offerings while providing some levity in Christmas commercials which all tend to run together. Big Lots is an example of yet another commercial showing snow, products, smiles and little in the way of connection to the brand or its core or new shoppers. Big Lots will struggle to cut through the holiday commercial clutter in this me-too ad.

"The trick for Big Lots is to ensure that the store experience lives up to the spirit of the ad."

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