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Sears 'Arrives' for back to school


HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. In an attempt to better engage the tween and teen markets, Sears has partnered with several big names in youth interactive marketing to ensure that its new back-to-school message of "Don't Just Go Back. Arrive," resonates with the targeted demographic.

In its partnership with 13 Web sites, Sears has created custom animation, virtual worlds and social networking applications to direct the target market to Sears' online "Arrive Lounge,", which features exclusive, interactive content from Sears' 2008 back-to-school offering.

The "Arrive Lounge" offers an opportunity to register for a VIP Access Card to obtain exclusive benefits, including free music downloads, discounts and great prizes to help the young consumers arrive at school in style, like a private jet or limo ride. Also available in the lounge are exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and videos and a remix master allowing visitors to make their own music videos to share with their friends via YouTube, Facebook and MySpace. Site content is provided by MTV's "The American Mall" movie, LL Cool J and Disney Channel's "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens.

The company's online partners include Alloy Media + Marketing's,, Disney, Nickelodeon,, Addicting Games,,,, Facebook, MySpace and Seventeen/CosmoGIRL!.

"Expanding our marketing strategy into the online world of user communities and social networking is a critical means of developing engagement and brand loyalty within the youth demographic," said Richard Gerstein, senior vp and chief marketing officer for Sears. "By modifying our strategy to reach tweens in their own environment, we are demonstrating to them how Sears can be a part of their lives, from their entertainment to their school wardrobe."

A big part of the promotion is a partnership with Vanessa Hudgens, who will be prominently featured in the campaign in print ads, a long-format video shot by Grammy award-winning director Joseph Kahn, TV spots, digital and sweeps, which will include a private concert with Hudgens at a winning school.

"I like to make a fashion statement by changing up my look with different styles," stated Hudgens. "Sears is a great place for those heading back to school this year because you can find an entire wardrobe of fun looks to suit any mood or fashion sense. Plus, since the clothes are so affordable, you can easily switch styles and really get noticed when you arrive back at school."

"By partnering with Vanessa Hudgens we're generating excitement about our back-to-school offering and building our relationship with our young customers and their parents," said Gerstein. "Plus, campaign elements like the VIP Access Card and are providing instant gratification to tweens and teens and really engaging them with the brand."

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