The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s
emarketer has forecast that growth for the 2018 holiday selling season will be the highest for the U.S. retailing industry since 2011 with total sales for Christmas topping $1 trillion for the first time in history. The bright forecast follows others from the National Retail Federation and others that expect retailers to report year-over-year gains from 4.1 percent and up.
Many retailers see early shoppers as key to achieving their growth objectives with some not even waiting until the last “trick or treat” was said before launching marketing campaigns to win the holidays. Recently released research from Valassis claims that 40 percent of U.S. consumers completed at least some of their Christmas shopping during Amazon.com’s Prime Day event in July.
The push to move the holiday sales up is why RetailWire is launching its annual Christmas Commercial Challenge a week earlier than in the past. What hasn’t changed from the past five years, is that we will feature holiday commercials from two retailers every week with members of the RetailWire community deciding which merchants have done the best jobs of communicating their holiday value propositions to consumers.
Week one of the challenge pits Kohl’s versus Macy’s with the rivals having taken decidedly different approaches to breaking through the holiday ad clutter.
Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass may have recently told The Wall Street Journal that members of her team do not “think of ourselves as a department store.” That doesn’t mean, however, that the chain doesn’t face direct competition from Macy’s and others in the department store channel.
This year, Kohl’s is emphasizing action and cold hard rewards in the form of Kohl’s Cash to entice consumers to shop its stores and website during the holidays. The spot, which features a Mrs. Johnson delivering gifts on horseback while trying to evade outlaws on her trail, concludes with the message: “Every hero deserves a reward. Gifts for them, Kohl’s Cash for you.”
Macy’s, which has seen its same-store sales increase for three straight quarters after going through declines for several years, is looking to build on a performance that has exceeded Wall Street’s modest expectations for the chain. To connect with consumers ahead of Thanksgiving, Macy’s goes straight for the heart strings with its “Space Station” spot that tells the story of a female astronaut in communication with her daughter and family while orbiting the Earth.
- Kohl’s TV Commercial, ‘Get Rewarded for the Gifts You Give This Holiday Season’ – iSpot.tv
- Macy’s Space Station – Little Black Book
- US Christmas sales predicted to surpass $1 trillion for the first time this year – CNBC
- Consumers will spend 4.1 percent more than last year during the winter holidays, according to NRF survey – National Retail Federation
- Did Amazon wrap up Christmas in July? – RetailWire
- Kohl’s CEO rejects department store tag – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your critique of Kohl’s “Gifts for them, Kohl’s Cash for you.” and Macy’s “Space Station” commercials? Which do you think does a better job of connecting with each company’s core customers while reaching out to new shoppers?