Kohl's Unwraps Holiday Marketing Programs

KohlsKohl’s has unleashed its holiday ad campaign, and is sweetening its bid for shoppers with extensive contests and picking up the tab for one lucky shopper per day in each of its 1,100-plus stores.

The Menomonee Falls, Wisc.-based chain, which just announced that its October comparable-store sales rose 3.3%, says that even if people are feeling some economic pinching, they still want to make dreams come true for their families. “We are providing deeper savings more often throughout the season and creating a comfortable, convenient and inspiring shopping experience in-store, online and through mobile devices,” says CEO Kevin Mansell, in the company’s announcement about the new campaign.

Themed “Dream Gifts,” the effort includes TV spots from McCann Erickson, which encourage shoppers to use all of the retailer’s resources, including its Kohl’s Cash program, and mobile shopping, to get the best deal on gifts. The company says in addition to TV, its advertising push is using digital and social media, mobile, email, direct mail, and out-of-home, including its first-ever cinema ads.

The 30-second spots are also running within such full-episode players as Hulu, ABC.com, CWTV.com and Adap.TV. And Kohl’s is also sponsoring the Food Network’s “Thanksgiving Live!” Program.

In stores, it is continuing the dream theme with designated gift zones that showcase gift-pairing options, such as pajamas with slippers. The “Dream Receipt” contest is scheduled to run from Nov. 23 through Christmas Eve.

An online list builder allows shoppers to customize lists and mange them from desktop, tablet or mobile device; and then share them with others, either via email or social. It includes a real-time budgeting feature. And customers can then print their lists in-store, using kiosks. (Customers can also use kiosks to buy items and have them shipped for free.)

And the company says it will have free WiFi in all its stores by Black Friday, to aid comparison shopping. Those who check in via Four Square will be eligible for additional savings. 

There’s also a big social push, with the store’s Facebook fans having access to Friday flash sales, as well as “Like Races” and “New Arrivals Sweepstakes,” which will reward a lucky fan with $100 gift cards for themselves and three friends. It also plans to use Pinterest and Twitter to highlight gift ideas. Kohl’s is also using Facebook for its charitable endeavors, donating $1 to Toys for Tots for each new “like” its Facebook page gets, up to $500,000. 

Nor is it limiting its efforts to digitally aware shoppers: The company says it has expanded its toy department by 25%, and on Wednesdays, will offer an extra 15% off in-store purchases to shoppers 60 and older.

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