Sears nabs bargain shoppers early with YouTube

The retailer's holiday digital strategy employs a two-day YouTube homepage buy to push online deals and engage shoppers who start looking for deals as soon as their presents are unwrapped.

The Sears Wish Book catalogue was once as iconic a Christmas tradition in small towns as decorating a tree, but as the world has moved in a digital direction, so too has the retailer’s holiday strategy.

A two-day YouTube Canada homepage ad buy, with media handled in-house and creative outsourced to a variety of consultants, marks the first time the brand has pursued a Christmas Day-specific marketing strategy.

The buy includes site-specific creative promoting Sears online deals (in some cases the same as in-store deals, in other cases not) and the tagline ‘Christmas Day mayhem, Boxing Day prices.’ The creative features a truck that drives across the ad unit, revealing products that flash more details when moused over.

With the online world wide open 365 days a year, deal-seeking shoppers are starting their search on Christmas instead of waiting until Boxing Day, Paige Mallin, director of interactive marketing, Sears Canada, tells MiC. As the brand has a well-established presence on YouTube to support the campaign, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to expand reach on the eve of the biggest shopping day of the year.

‘There’s going to be some people who have time on Christmas Day to watch YouTube that normally wouldn’t have that much time to spend there,’ Vincent Power, corporate communications, Sears Canada, tells MiC. (‘And upload their family videos from that day!’ Mallin jokes.)

‘We’re keeping up with the various demographics that we have, and we know that we can’t ignore the more traditional customer that we have because they certainly form the core of our business,’ Power continues. ‘But there is a lot of people that engage with social media that we’re trying to keep interested in Sears.’

The YouTube push is part of a larger multimedia holiday effort spanning print (flyers, catalogue), e-newsletters, in-stores, diversions and more, Mallin says, careful to note that the digital strategy is in no way replacing the traditional marketing that Sears is so well known for.

The ad buys on YouTube are an extension of the brand’s established channel, which it uses to engage with consumers one-on-one by doing product videos and even responding to guest queries via video. Sears will also be tweeting Christmas and Boxing Day deals to over 2,000 followers throughout both days on the Sears Canada Twitter feed.