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When are celebrities more than celebrities? When they’re part of Macy’s new strategy


NEW YORK —Few commercials can surpass the ‘pop cultureness’ of Macy’s new TV campaign. Martha, Donald, Usher, Emeril and Jessica are just a few of the famous faces cast in witty segments.

“Macy’s new brand campaign pairs one of the largest celebrity ensemble casts ever in a TV ad with the incredible filmmaking talent of Barry Levinson and Bob Richardson,” Peter Sachse, president of Macy’s corporate marketing, told the public. “With clever storytelling that puts iconic faces and personalities to the assorted collection of brands housed under our one big roof, the campaign unquestionably reinforces Macy’s epic heritage and relevance to our customer.” The new ads first aired in mid-September during the telecast of the 59th Prime-time Emmy Awards—perhaps to highlight the spirit of Hollywood.

These days, advertising sends a message that sale promotions are no longer the most important factor in luring customers, making representation the driving force for bringing in the big bucks. The appeal is seen in the campaign that depicts each designer with distinction, in turn, conveying that his or her personality is mirrored in the product. And, therefore, underlining that Macy’s caters to a wide consumer range that likes dainty Martha sheets as much as a ‘hot’ outfit by Sean Combs.

“The brand advertising you will see from Macy’s this fall embraces the personality of our brand and focuses on our differentiation from competitors,” Sachse added. “Unlike celebrity endorsement advertising, the beauty of the Macy’s campaign is that the icons featured are all participating as genuine representatives of their brands, which are carried in our stores. It’s a story and status that virtually no other retailer today can claim.” Allotted slots for the campaign, which is scheduled to run all through the fall season, will span highly rated shows, including “The Today Show” and “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style.”

Some may soon be saying ‘Martha, Martha, Martha’ as Martha Stewart appeared in three commercials, including the 90-second Emmy spot. Her frequent exposure is not accidental—it is clear that the retailer is pushing the launch of hte new Martha Stewart Collection at Macy’s. “The key [in this campaign] was to reinforce the natural link between the stars and their merchandise,” said Jim Sluzewski, Macy’s Inc. spokesman.

Advertising involving a famous name brings life to a brand, leaving the competition looking ordinary. The question is: After setting the bar for brand campaigns pretty high, will Macy’s Inc. be able to maintain the edge?

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