Kohl's Ramps Up Giving Message in Holiday Campaign

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Kohl's is in a giving state of mind with its new holiday campaign, "Give a Little More." The 1,100-unit chain will debut the first of three holiday-focused TV spots on Nov. 9, as it rolls out an accompanying social media push focused around its 140,000 store associates.

"All year, we've been positioning our brand to connect with customers in a more realistic way," said Nancy Carruth, senior VP-marketing, brand creative, at Menomonee Falls, Wisc.-based Kohl's. "We believe the magic really happens when we all give a little more."

The campaign kicks off with a 30-second spot in which two elves endeavor to help a woman making a holiday dinner, before her teenage son beats them to the punch. "The real magic of the holidays is when we all give a little more," a voiceover says in the commercial. Two other 30-second spots will run later in the season, including on Nov. 20 as part of the American Music Awards, which the retailer is sponsoring for the fourth year. Kohl's plans to run a total of eight spots during the AMAs, which take place in Los Angeles this year. At least one of the AMA spots will focus on Kohl's store associates and bring some real-life stories to life in video format, said Ms. Carruth. Kohl's will also reward its Yes2You loyalty program members by inviting 10 to attend the award show and its events.

Kohl's worked with Anomaly and Huge. In social media, the retailer is hosting a Snapchat initiative with unique filters through November and December—the program marks Kohl's second time working with Snapchat after a successful back-to-school venture. Store employees will also be featured as part of an interactive social campaign for the holiday push, she said.

Last year, Kohl's highlighted the importance of family during the holidays. The brand spent $90.9 million on measured media in the U.S. in November and December of 2015, according to Kantar Media. Ms. Carruth declined to say how this year's budget compares with last year's.

Kohl's has been toying with new advertising initiatives this year, such as hosting the Oscars for the first time and expanding its own mobile payment system Kohl's Pay. Some programs have translated to a brand boost -- for the second quarter, Kohl's cheered investors by posting a 7.7% uptick in net income to $140 million. Revenue for the period was $4.2 billion, a 2% drop over the year-earlier period.

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