Marshalls Taps Big Surprises For New Campaign

Off-price retailer Marshalls knows that while its core customers like fashion bargains, what they really love are big surprises. So its new broadcast campaign focuses on the pure delight of anticipation, from birthday presents, fortune cookies and unexpected knocks on the door.

The campaign, the first from Leo Burnett Chicago since it won the business back in May, also includes a slow-motion spot purely focused on kids’ expressions as they wait for some of life’s big reveals—little surprises that make the world memorable and sometimes magical. The idea behind the campaign, the ad agency says, “is that life is better with surprises, and your surprise is waiting at Marshalls.” In addition to the TV spots, the campaign also includes print, digital, and social.



“We found that ‘surprise’ is something Marshalls stores have always delivered, but Marshalls as a brand had never communicated before,” says Sarah Block, SVP, creative director at Leo Burnett, on the agency’s blog.  

The new campaign comes at a time when TJX, Marshalls’ parent company, is gaining ground, with its most recent comparable-store sales increases its best since 2012, writes Mike Baker, an analyst who follows the off-price retailer for Deutsche Bank, and well ahead of other apparel companies. Its market share gains “are due in part to the strength in the off-price in general, which is becoming a more preferred shopping channel. But TJX’s company specific plans are making that happen as it correctly strategized to be sharper on prices and offer more values to drive more traffic.”

And while the Framingham, Mass.-based retailer doesn’t report Marshalls’ gains separately from the much-larger TJMaxx division, the two together had a 4% gain in same-store sales, which he says is the best showing in two years. (TJMaxx and Marshalls account for about 65% of the company’s sales.)

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