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The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: The Final Vote

December 30, 2013

After nine weeks of one-on-one competitions, the time has come for the RetailWire community to vote on the one commercial that stood above the rest for 2013 holiday selling season. Which is the best? You decide.

Week one winner:
Toys "R" Us - Wishes Come True
[Image: TRU Holiday]

Week two winner:
Best Buy - Judy
[Image: Best Buy Holiday]

Week three winner:
Kmart - Kid Talk
[Image: Kmart Kid Talk]

Week four winner:
Kohl's - Holiday Surprise
[Image: Kohl's]

Week five winner:
Sports Authority - Unplug
[Image: Unplug]

Week six winner:
Overstock.com - Coach Ditka Santa
[Image: Overstock.com Christmas]

Week seven winner:
L.L.Bean - Guaranteed to Please
[Image: L.L.Bean Christmas]

Week eight winner:
Party City - A Little Bit of Christmas in My Life
[Image: Party City Christmas]

Week nine winner:
TJX Cos. - The Gifter: Mission 5
[Image: TJX Cos. ad]

Discussion Questions:

Which of the nine commercials reaching the finals of the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge do you think did the best job of reinforcing the individual retailer's brand?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Which is your choice as the winner of the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge?


L.L.Bean still does it for me. The commercial is engaging and memorable, while reinforcing the brand name and conveying the breadth of its products.

Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to my RetailWire friends!

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Joan Treistman, President, The Treistman Group LLC

My vote is for the Sports Authority ad. It is pleasant to watch, using good-taste humor to make its point, without shouting at me. The commercial's content also has a strong connection to the product, and does a great job of reinforcing the retailer's brand and image. It reminds us that some of the best things in today's world are real, rather than virtual.

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Dr. Paul Helman, Chief Science Officer, KSS Retail

All nine were good but Best Buy is reinventing itself. Week #2 winner, Best Buy - Judy, aids and clarifies Best Buy's new brand.

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Gene Hoffman, President/CEO, Corporate Strategies International

Sports Authority reinforced its core story with a spot that appeals to all family members. The spot uses humor to remind us that participating in sports is good for us, and that Sports Authority can meet all of your sporting goods needs.

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

Keep in mind that the cutest, or most funny ads, are seldom the ones that do the best job selling the product. The most effective was Best Buy because it was clear and obvious to the consumer during the entire commercial that the actors were standing inside a Best Buy store.

Those of us in the retail CPG business pay close attention to which retailer is doing the advertising but most consumers, while they might enjoy the gag, are unable to tell you 5 minutes later which retailer put on the ad. For that reason, I like Best Buy. Oh, and I hope Michael Bolton is finished singing now ... and no I don't remember which car he was advertising! :)

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David Biernbaum, Senior Marketing and Business Development Consultant, David Biernbaum Associates LLC

Selecting the "best of the best" is never easy. Each of the nine have characteristics that stand out. Some focused on specific products they carried, struck emotional chords, or effectively used humor. However, I felt the most compelling ad that reinforced a retail brand was the Sports Authority spot. Therefore they get my vote.

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Dave Wendland, Vice President, Hamacher Resource Group

I'd say Kohl's wins, just for being a nice spirit of giving piece and not hard selling the way several of the others do. Ditka ties with the Kmart kid for most annoying.

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Al McClain, CEO, Founder, RetailWire.com

Sports Authority gets my vote. Links brand/products to the season and has a great message about personal interaction in the real world.

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Steve Montgomery, President, b2b Solutions, LLC

Hands down, Sports Authority!

Not only did it tell the brand's story, it reminded people that there are other/better things to do with one's time than electronics. Great inspiration to get folks up and into the nearest Sports Authority for a gift!

Lee Kent, Brings Retail Executives Together to Meet.Learn.Profit, RetailConnections

I definitely find that Kohl's "Holiday Surprise" commercial draws on the holiday heartstrings more so for me than the Sports Authority "Unplug" commercial.

Still favor Party City's "A Little Bit of Christmas in my Life" for its quick and colorful review of Christmas products. Instead of playing to the heartstrings, this commercial shows how to celebrate Christmas in a cost effective way and get a lot of bang for your buck. It is fun and memorable and does the best job of reinforcing the retailers brand, IMHO.

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Karen S. Herman, Founder & Design Director, Gustie Creative LLC

I'd have to say Kohl's. There is some strong emotion tied into that ad. I thought they did a great job in pulling at the heart strings - it was less about the products and more about how the products made someone feel. Toys "R" Us was a close second for me, but with that ad, it was definitely about the products. But the kids' reactions were priceless.

Michele Miller, Director, Content Strategy, EPAM Empathy Lab

Some were good, others were better. But my choice was between L.L.Bean and Sports Authority. I gave L.L.Bean the final nod even though Sports Authority promoting outdoors and exercise is most important.

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Ed Rosenbaum, CEO, The Customer Service Rainmaker, Rainmaker Solutions

Best Buy and L.L.Bean were most successful for me, each for different reasons.

Maya Rudolph's delivery of Best Buy's holiday rhyme is right on target, and the "Your ultimate holiday showroom" tagline is a brilliant stroke.

L.L.Bean's visual gag communicates its range of products in a memorable way, and the reminder of its no-hassle return policy provides assurance of a good gifting experience.

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James Tenser, Principal, VSN Strategies

L.L.Bean by a nose. Sports Authority a close second. Party City a surprising third. All three know who they are trying to reach and they did!


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