Back to Books – Holiday marketing


Do you remember the Sears Wishbook? (You should they only stopped publishing them in 2011!) Filled with dreams and visions of wonderful gifts, holiday home furnishings, fashions and treats to buy, you could pore over it for hours. And dream.

As digital took over the Sears Wishbook took a rest. But now it’s  back! Why?

It’s a tough time for traditional retailers and Sears is no different. In the past ten years, it has closed nearly 60% of its U.S. stores and its stock has fallen 50% year to date. If you want to cut through the cut price, cut and run efficiency of Amazon you have to offer something more, something Amazon can’t or won’t offer.

Books still communicate something special, representing a moment to yourself which is always attractive in these days of FOMO and LOMO. There’s a particularly aspirational dreaming  around wonderful Christmas you’re going to have which lends itself to a slower more contemplative read than scanning the bright yellow and white pages of Amazon.

Then there’s nostalgia. Refreshing people’s memory about they way they used to buy is a classic and classy play that digs deep into our dreams of Christmas past.

And finally, it’s authentic. The first Wishbook was published in 1934. Sears has history with this so why not tap into that authenticity to remind visitors that the brand is still there, ready to sell them everything?

But what if you don’t have that kind of  history to draw on, yet face many of the same problems? Enter the Toys R Us Christmas catalog.

Like the Sears catalog, it isn’t long, but with less  history to draw on Toys’R’Us has come up with a charming way to tug on the heart strings. Throughout the book are micro-stories written by children as a response to the catalogue montages and they are charming. They create an emotional response, a connection that reminds us of the incredible creativity kids bring to the toys they play with.

And that tangible moment combined with our love of dreaming might make a difference between visiting Toys R Us and sitting glumly in front of your computer this holiday season.

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