The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Macy’s vs. Nordstrom
The various forecasts put out by the National Retail Federation and others for the Christmas selling season have the industry seeing year-over-year growth somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 percent this year. A greater percentage of total holiday sales will shift online — much of it going to Amazon.com — while the promise of big savings will encourage more consumers to shop early rather than wait for retailers to offer panic promotions in the days right before Christmas.
Retailers, looking to gain an early advantage during this critical season, are already trying to break through the noise of the marketplace with the announcement of pre-Black Friday deals and Christmas commercials seen by millions on television and online.
With Thanksgiving eight days away, we begin the fifth annual RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge. Each week, we will present two commercials from retailers in the U.S. and ask you to cast your vote for the company that has done the most effective job of communicating its holiday message to its customers.
To begin the 2017 edition of the challenge, we present commercials from Macy’s and Nordstrom. The two chains face uncertain prospects for the season as department stores remain among the most challenged verticals in the retailing industry.
Macy’s needs a strong holiday season after seeing same-store sales fall 3.6 percent during the third quarter. The company has experienced net sales declines for 11 straight quarters. Macy’s longer-form “Lighthouse” spot is intended to tug at the heartstrings. The spot features a young boy named Max who basks in the warmth of his family’s love and a girl named Lily who sees little joy coming for the holidays after losing her mother. As you’ll see, Max reaches out to Lily in a surprising way with positive results.
Nordstrom, which is coming off a third quarter when it posted a 0.9 percent decline in same-store sales, is looking to rebound during the holidays. Its “Choir, Choir, Choir” commercial is intended as a way for the chain’s employees to offer thanks to all its customers. Warning: The spot, featuring a backing track by Ray Charles, will likely result in listeners developing an earworm.
- Lighthouse | The Perfect Gift Brings People Together | Macy’s Holiday Commercial 2017 – YouTube
- Choir! Choir! Choir! + Nordstrom Extended | Holiday 2017 – YouTube
- Macy’s shares surge on holiday quarter outlook – Reuters
- Nordstrom’s Sales Slump Show It Can’t Sidestep Retail Gloom – Bloomberg
DISCUSSION QUESTION: What is your critique of Macy’s “Lighthouse” and Nordstrom’s “Choir”? Which do you think does a better job of connecting with each company’s core customers while reaching out to new shoppers?