Monday, June 23, 2008

Death of a Sears, Man

"Sears" has been struggling for a number of years with the emergence of discount giants like Walmart and Costco. It enjoyed a brief lift on its appeal to women with its "come see the softer side of Sears" campaign, but in the end, savvy housewives realized that the "soft side" was still the "ugly and of medium quality and price" side.

Now Sears, in its final business death throes, is making one last desperate plea, not to women this time, but young people. Sears is teaming up with MTV, LL Cool J, and the makers of the movie "Highschool Musical" to make a movie of their own called "The American Mall" where the young actors and actresses will be completely outfitted in Sears' new and more hip fashion line.

Um, good luck with that. Sears happens to be choosing the most fickle, unpredictable, and irrational demographic there is.

Last summer I went shopping at the mall with my 16-year-old niece and I could find absolutely no rational logic in her choices. As far as I could tell, she choose jeans based on two factors: how expensive they were (the more the better) and how worn out they looked (again, the more the better). She stood there considering a pair that cost $80, riddled with holes and worn out spots and seriously considered buying them!

I casually asked, "don't you want a pair that doesn't look like someone spent the last 5 years motorcross biking in them?"

She looked at me with a mixture of pity and exasperation and said, "that's not the point."

She chose shirts with a similar value system - the flimsier and more likely to sprout holes, the better - but I could find no rhyme or reason to what she liked on the shirt. Some characters looked like they came straight out of a 3-year-old's coloring book with cartoon bunnies and monkeys, but when I suggested one with a cute cat on it she gave me a horrified look and said, "duh-uh-uh-mb!"

If I were in charge of saving Sears from its slow and tortured death, judging from my mall capers with my teen niece, I would say, make cheap, holey clothes, put it on nearly naked manequins complete with "bulges", fumigate the store with an incredibly stinky, "signature" fragrance, and charge insanely excessive prices, and maybe they have a chance. A perky teen movie with hip but wholesome characters will sell them with the 9 to 12 year-old crowd, but unfortunately, they have very little money to spend.


Aimee said...

Great post, Ray! All Sears is good for these days are appliances.

SUP3RH3R0 said...

Don't underestimate the power of the tweens. If it weren't for them we wouldn't have Hannah Montana selling out venues in mere minutes for thousands of dollars a ticket. Getting the tweens gets the added bonus of getting the moms in the store, since most credit cards don't let this age group own one. And since this age group don't work yet they have no concept of the value of a dollar. I'm sure you can point out other age groups with the same problem, but let's not go there today.

ray said...

You've got a point, H3RO. Maybe they are targeting the Hannah Montana crowd. I'm not sure how that jives with the LL Cool J crowd since he would be, like, so old, to them.

For the record, I can't tell you how thankful I am that we lost our copy of "Highschool Musical". I think the tween marketing has the potential to be as annoying as "Barney" (and about as clever).