Best Buy is going the time-tested route this holiday season. After featuring 32-year-old actor Adam DeVine in its back-to-school campaign, the electronics chain is aging up by tapping comedian Don Rickles for the holidays. The 90-year-old actor will appear in a new spot debuting Friday as part of the "Holiday Gifting Made Easy" campaign that began earlier this week. The new marketing is meant to demonstrate how easy Best Buy can make gift buying this year—one spot reads, "If we made the holidays any easier, Don Rickles would roast your chestnuts." The comedian then proceeds to roast a sad chestnut sitting on a white cloth napkin. "Chestnut, people hate you so much that every year, they throw you in the fire," Mr. Rickles says as a family roars with laughter in the 50-second spot.
Derek Barnes, the executive creative director at Grey New York who worked on the project, noted that the script of the campaign dictated the celebrity cameos—in the punchline about chestnuts, no one else but Mr. Rickles could pull it off, for example. In another commercial, chef Bobby Flay stars as a ginger who knows bread.
"We used Don in a metaphorical sense of doing what he does best as a celebrity roaster," said Mr. Barnes. "It's a tongue-in-cheek, lighthearted acknowledgement that the holidays can be a time that's slightly challenging—if ever we want things to be easy, we want it in that pre-holiday season."
Best Buy will run a total of 15 spots—five of which will be on broadcast TV—in a mix of 30-and-15-second clips. Like last year's holiday effort, also by Grey, the push will be largely digital. Mr. Barnes noted that the campaign will include some longer-length videos with Mr. Rickles for social media.
"With this campaign, we're telling customers not to worry—we're here to make your shopping fun and easy, with convenient ways to find the best gifts, terrific product selection and help to get that new tech up and running," said Greg Revelle, chief marketing officer at Best Buy, in an emailed statement. He noted that new technology like virtual reality, drones and connected home devices are exciting but can be confusing for customers.
Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy has worked with Grey since 2015. Last year, Best Buy spent $63 million on measured media in the U.S. from November to December, according to Kantar Media. Despite ample competition from online retail giant Amazon, the 50-year-old brand has been holding its own. In the second quarter, Best Buy reported a 24% rise in online sales. The chain also listed a 21% increase in net income for the quarter, to $198 million, over the year-earlier period; revenue, at $8.53 billion, was up slightly from last year and ended three quarters of declines. Same-store sales for the period rose 0.8%.
Best Buy announced Tuesday that it plans to revive its free shipping promotion for the holidays after debuting the offer last year.