'Good life' returns: Y&R takes lead Sears role

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Following a creative shootout, Sears, Roebuck & Co. is shuffling agency assignments and reprising its "Good life at a great price" theme.

The company wouldn't disclose creative credits for the campaign that breaks today using a more pithy "Good Life. Great Price" tagline, but Y&R Advertising, Chicago, looks to have gained a bigger role over its WPP Group sibling Ogilvy & Mather, according to local production executives.

Advertising returns to its harder-working promotional style under "Good Life" from the humor-based "Sears. Where Else?" campaign launched in September 2001 that positioned Sears as a shopping destination. Despite drawing high recall marks, sales haven't matched the campaign's popularity and Janine Bousquette, Sears' exec VP-chief customer officer since November, set out to make a change.

focus

"From our perspective it wasn't about going back to a campaign or a tagline, it was about focusing and galvanizing around this core proposition as what we deliver to our customers," she said.

Ms. Bousquette said the theme will be expressed through all vehicles, including TV, pre-print and direct marketing, as well as at the store level. Sears spent $659 million in measured media last year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Three debut spots respectively position Sears as the place customers prefer to buy appliances, mowers and Mother's Day gifts, whether for "big families to small families," for the "dream yard or the first yard." Each spot includes a 0% financing incentive with Sears credit and is being translated for Hispanic consumers.

"They're both branding spots in establishing a unique positioning and category authority, and have promotional urgency," said Ms. Bousquette. "We're saying both why Sears and why now."

She wouldn't discuss how the work would be split between agencies. "Both agencies were very active in creating this campaign and we are going to continue to work with both," she said. "We have a very deliberate internal plan on how we engage both these agencies. We are not dividing it hardline vs. softline as we may have traditionally done." Y&R referred calls to Sears; Ogilvy could not be reached for comment.

ogilvy continues

According to executives close to the marketer, Ogilvy will continue its work on branded lines Craftsman and Diehard but won't share full-line brand responsibilities as it did on "Where Else?"

"Ogilvy isn't going to be doing that much for Sears," said one Chicago production executive.

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