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Christmas Creep: Crate & Barrel Hurries Holidays With Reese Witherspoon

By Published on .

It may be 80 degrees in New York but the never-ending summer isn't stopping marketers from moving forward with holiday plans—early as usual. Furniture and home décor brand Crate & Barrel has tapped actress Reese Witherspoon as its first-ever spokesperson, breaking the retailer's holiday campaign on today. "Make this Season Merry and Just Right" will run digitally and on social media beginning Tuesday, more than two weeks earlier than Crate & Barrel's 2016 holiday effort. TV spots in 30-and 15-second versions will air nationally Oct. 29.

Suzy Cirulis, VP of marketing for Chicago-based Crate & Barrel, noted that the earlier push gives the brand more opportunity to maximize the content it created with agency-of-record Preacher, a relationship that began last year.

Crate & Barrel, which is owned by Hamberg, Germany-based Otto Group, spent $3.6 million on measured media in the U.S. during the holiday period of November and December last year, nearly double that of 2015, according to Kantar Media. Earlier this year, the brand appointed Neela Montgomery, who had served as executive board member for multi-channel retail at Otto Group, as its chief executive.

Crate & Barrel isn't likely to be the only one moving up holiday plans compared with last year. In 2016, the majority of retailers waited until after the Nov. 8 presidential election, which dominated airwaves, to begin airing spots. This year, when the National Retail Federation is expecting holiday sales to rise between 3.6 percent and 4 percent over last year, there is no similar attention-sucking event.

As part of the new collaboration with Witherspoon, 55-year-old Crate & Barrel will begin selling co-designed products from her lifestyle brand Draper James next year. During the holidays, the retailer will highlight certain Draper James items in its gift guides.

"Reese has built a brand that truly resonates with customers, with products designed to celebrate her Southern heritage," says Cirulis via email, explaining that the partnership should help Crate & Barrel reach a new audience.

In a 30-second spot, Witherspoon is the hostess with the mostess, juggling flaming cocktails with popcorn ornaments and taste-testing 37 varieties of cranberry sauce before settling on the best recipe for a holiday gathering.

Witherspoon recently appeared in the popular HBO miniseries "Big Little Lies" and will star in next years "A Wrinkle in Time" film.

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