Macy's looked to its history -- and several thousand miles south -- for inspiration in its latest marketing and merchandising effort, "Brasil: A Magical Journey."
Some 18 months ago, a select team of Macy's execs came together to ponder the brand's next big campaign, said CMO Martine Reardon. They contemplated various product initiatives, marketing programs and promotions that might excite customers and be different from competitors'. They landed on the idea of doing a country promotion, something department stores were known for decades ago.
"Many, many years ago, department stores would salute countries and bring a taste of that country into the local store for customers to experience the culture and product," Ms. Reardon said. "We thought, wouldn't that be fun?"
As the team began to determine an appropriate country, Brazil came into contention based partly on its association with bold, bright colors. It had also just secured the 2014 World Cup and was in contention for the 2016 Summer Olympics. (Brazil has since won the bid for the Olympics.)
"It's so rich with culture, between the food, art, music and dance," Ms. Reardon said. "It's a wonderful way to bring the country to our customers without them having to get on a plane. It's a really exciting country, and people are really very interested" in it, she added.
Brazilians also make up a significant portion of Macy's tourist traffic. Macy's partnered with Brazilian entities and hosted a press conference in Brazil last month to explain the campaign to local media outlets. Working with Brazilian officials has helped ensure that the effort is "incredibly authentic," Ms. Reardon said.
The campaign officially kicked off May 16, and the retailer has already begun hosting themed events and rolling out curated "O Mercado, The Market at Macy's " shops. Creative was shot on location in Brazil. The Vox Collective, Macy's Hispanic agency, consulted with the retailer on this project. Macy agency JWT wasn't involved.
The market, also available on Macys.com, features products ranging from apparel and jewelry to home and beauty from a variety of Brazilian designers. Brazilian chocolate and coffee are also on offer. QR codes are used throughout the store to provide information about the designers and products.
Macy's could highlight other countries in the future, depending on the reception this one receives, according to Ms. Reardon. "We're keeping our options open," she said. "Everything we do is deeply rooted in customer insights, so if the customer votes for it, great. We will try to support that ."