The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Sears vs. Target

Discussion
Dec 21, 2015




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This week’s competition puts Sears up against Target. "Bring the Sleigh" from Sears emphasizes the retailer’s wide selection of products with "The Carol of the Bells" as a musical backdrop. Target’s spot, number five in a series, completes the epic journey of three children and Bullseye, the retailer’s canine mascot, to light a massive Christmas tree.

Which spot will move on to join our previous week’s winners — Macy’s, T.J. Maxx, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Big Lots and Petco — in next week’s finale of the 2015 RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge? Make your vote count.

[Image: Sears]
Bring the Sleigh – Sears/YouTube

[Image: Target]
Chapter 5: Starry Night Before Christmas – Target/YouTube

What is your critique of “Bring the Sleigh” from Sears and “Starry Night Before Christmas” from Target? Which spot do you think does a better job of connecting with the chain’s core customer base while also reaching out to prospective shoppers?

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Braintrust
"I have to give the edge to Target on this one. I think the Sears ad does a good job showing more actual gift ideas, but the message of "bring the sleigh," which is cute and actually has some potential, is just way too subtle the way they’ve done it here."

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15 Comments on "The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Sears vs. Target"


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Dick Seesel
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

The Sears ad is nicely produced and does a good job selling the chain’s breadth of assortment — if you’re paying attention. But an entirely wordless spot like this one will have trouble catching the attention of today’s multitasking shoppers unless they are “glued to the tube.” And I’m not sure that the underlying message — that Sears is the original “all things to all people” — really matters unless you’re Amazon.

The Target ad is truer to its brand position and more focused on a single category (toys) while blending wit with “holiday cheer.” This one gets my vote.

Max Goldberg
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

My vote goes to Sears, and this may be one of the few times I have something positive to say about this broken retailer. The spot shows the wide variety of items available at their stores. The Target spot tries to be too cute, and if someone had not seen the previous spots, the last one in the series lacks context.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
6 years 5 months ago
I have been tough on these spots this year, many of which I think miss the mark. Once again — based on an objective analysis of what I think they are trying to do — both of these are a bit lacking. The Sears spot probably does an adequate job of illustrating the breadth of product lines available as Christmas presents, a “We have almost everything you might need under one roof” message, but I found it visually distracting. Maybe something about the idea of wrenches raining from the sky en route to the sleigh. Didn’t really see a tie-in to a targeted audience — more shotgun than rifle shot marketing. Target was “cute” but stopped there. Nice little story — heartwarming and all that — but hardly pushing a specific message, unless of course that the absence of a message is the message. “Feel good” marketing may make us all feel warm and fuzzy, but again I’m not sure how/why/where this ticks and ties to a specific marketing cohort, other than the obvious families with adorable kids, barking billboards… Read more »
Mohamed Amer
Guest
Mohamed Amer
6 years 5 months ago

The Sears spot is all about the supply side of the equation and there’s a lot to choose from. The Target spot is about people with hopes and dreams that resonate with the holidays.

Target’s has a more complete story of a hero’s journey: there’s supernatural wonder, the children depart on a journey, they encounter challenges and emerge victorious and save the world.

The Sear’ spot is more on the products you find at a Sears store instead of the possibilities that you can find in a Target store. To me the Target spot is more effective, in line with the brand and will resonate more with its customers.

Tom Martin
Guest
Tom Martin
6 years 5 months ago

While both ads will get viewers into the holiday spirit, the Target ad focuses on the true magic of the holidays and uses storytelling as a powerful and touching method. While products are featured in the Target ad, they are given roles in the story. The Sears commercial focuses almost entirely on the commercial aspects of the holiday, which is why I give the win to Target this week.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
6 years 5 months ago

I have to give the edge to Target on this one. I think the Sears ad does a good job showing more actual gift ideas, but the message of “bring the sleigh,” which is cute and actually has some potential, is just way too subtle the way they’ve done it here.

Target’s ad feels like it was cut from a longer segment. But it does have a nice little story to it. I just felt like the message of the ad wasn’t very clear — it has enough product in it to seem promotional, but not enough product for the call to action to clearly be something about Target and toys and magic. Or about delivering an “epic” Christmas to your kids. Or whatever.

It’s interesting to note, though, that this isn’t your typical Target ad, though they don’t seem to have been running a lot of those this season.

At the end of the day, for me, they’re both kind of mediocre. But Target’s was at least more fun to watch.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Let’s start with Sears. I am not a huge fan of the chain. But I must admit this piece was well done, especially for the low standards Sears has had over the past several years. Sears comes in second in this two-chain race.

Target is impressive and tells a story with meaning. This ad is in tune with the season and Target’s newfound storytelling commercials. I enjoyed watching it. I actually saw it on TV yesterday and commented to friends how well done it was. Target comes in first in this week’s face off.

As an aside, my wife saw a Sears ad and told me she wants a Craftsman tool set for the holidays. She is not serious, is she?

James Tenser
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Putting aside my ingrained bias about Sears (not so good), I must say its “Bring the Sleigh” ad is superior, not only to Target’s “Starry Night,” but to most of the other holiday season ads I’ve seen this year.

The photography is outstanding. The concept is simple, clear and executed without false sentimentality. The tagline is a rather brilliant bit of copy writing that encourages action, reminding moms and dads that it’s high time to gas up the pickup and head to the mall.

If only Sears could execute its merchandising this well …

Karen McNeely
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Possibly because I no longer have younger children, but I didn’t get the Target ad. I feel like it was referencing a movie or movies that I’ve never seen. It certainly didn’t move me to go shopping at Target.

I was prejudiced against the Sears spot before watching it, but I think it does a great job of showing product assortment and at least makes you think about shopping there. I don’t think it is a great commercial, but I do think it is better than Target’s. While the lack of words could backfire, in a world of so much blather, sometimes the more understated presentation draws more attention.

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Sears does a great job of showing a wide range of products supporting the idea of why to shop there. Target has a nice tie in with Frozen, but are one level above as to why to shop. Target has a little more class in their message. I vote for Target, but think Sears is the best I have seen from them in years.

Lee Peterson
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

I don’t know, I give them both a solid “meh.” Sears does a better job with at least showing some merchandise, but you know, their brand is not something everyone trusts right now. And on the other hand, Target does a better brand building job, but IMO goes a little too far off the ranch (you know, that they’re a retailer).

It’s hard not to vote for Target simply because they’re a stronger brand — funny how that works.

Lee Kent
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

You know, while I really like the Target piece, here’s my snag. The ad is depicting the magic of the holidays with great appeal to children. How many children even watch ads these days? So the ad is not to influence children to want something from Target. What does it show the parents? That they can pick up a Barbie or Super Hero there. Does it compel them to go to Target? I’m thinking not.

Sears, on the other hand, did remind me to think about Sears and even showed me some items I would not necessarily have associated with the brand.

I’m gonna give my 2 cents to Sears and will likely be in the minority. But hey, that’s what I see.

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
6 years 5 months ago

Not really a fan of either one of them. But I have to vote for Sears’s ad which seems to realize that Christmas is not all just a mystical fairyland and that gifts are not just for kids, but for all ages — some even practical and useful ones, like Sears is historically most known for.

Paul Barczak
Guest
Paul Barczak
6 years 5 months ago

Sears is better at connecting with the customers.

Naomi K. Shapiro
Guest
Naomi K. Shapiro
6 years 5 months ago

I feel that the Target ad is much superior to the Sears ad.

Many wrote that Sears does a great job of showing the variety of products available. True, but where’s the message? All I feel with the Sears ad is a sense of greed — i.e. buy this buy that, etc., but nowhere a sense of giving or positives about shopping and holidays and finding and buying gifts at Sears. Just “buy” and fill up the sleigh.

I haven’t seen the other Target ads, but this Target ad made me a believer, in Christmas, in fantasy, and in a positive holiday feeling. I do think that tons of kids will view this ad and identify with it — and beg to go to Target for many of the things represented.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I have to give the edge to Target on this one. I think the Sears ad does a good job showing more actual gift ideas, but the message of "bring the sleigh," which is cute and actually has some potential, is just way too subtle the way they’ve done it here."

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