Sears' New Spin On Planned Obsolescence: Let Consumers Know

Sears and its agency Havas Chicago are launching the “Duress Campaign” to help consumers understand when their appliances are going to die before they completely shut down. 

The big box retail giant wants to connect with people through the campaign who are in a state of so-called “appliance duress” and provide tips about warning signs that indicate an appliance is about at the end of its life. 

Each ad concentrates on a specific appliance that can be conveniently replaced by shopping at Sears.  

The first ads launched center around the refrigerator with the “Final Countdown”and washer-dryer with “Spinning In Confusion.” The other three spots are “Cold Rinse” for water heaters, “T-Minus Six Days” for ovens/stovetops, and “Two Weeks Notice” for dishwashers. 



The real creative challenge for Havas was making sure they could properly show the problem and solution in a 30-second window. "It's too easy, and perhaps too expected, to simply show an appliance dying and then cut to an upset person," the agency stated. "We avoided that route and instead played with some simple humor to help brighten these duress situations." 

These ads have been purchased programmatically to specifically target consumers who are seeking replacement appliances or repair services, such as dishwashers, washing machines, says the agency. "It's less about the contextual environment and more about reaching the consumer who is in need of a new Kenmore appliance."  

Currently, the Duress spots will only appear online. However, there is a complimentary TV campaign supporting promotional home appliance sales and Havas expects to run these spots as part of its 2017 TV buy.  

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