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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Sears, Roebuck & Co., responding to slow sales, is radically altering its marketing approach, moving to a product-focused branding effort and away from a sales and
Campaign fails to increase store sales.
promotional effort, which has failed to produce increases in same store sales.

Sears dropped its 2-year-old campaign, which had the tagline "The good life at a great price. Guaranteed," for a new effort breaking Sept. 8 with the slogan "Sears. Where else?"

The "Good Life" tagline had been used as a catchall for a campaign with diverse creative in which spots featured sales on products ranging from paint to appliances.

Humorous scenes
The new work features humorous scenes highlighting specific Sears products. For example, in one spot, a man is trimming a hedge in his yard. A black screen shows a checklist naming various Sears products he is using, from his denim jacket to the Craftsman tool. When he cuts a square hole in the hedge to get a view of his neighbor's big-screen TV, the voice-over notes Sears carries electornics products.

"No one has what Sears has to help you live your life," said David Selby, senior vice president of marketing.

The impetus behind the new effort -- to sell the "whole house," or every department, from fine jewelry to tools -- is Sears Chairman Alan Lacy, who wants to make the retailer a "destination" store.

Lackluster sales
Sears sales have been lackluster, with revenues for the four weeks ended Aug. 4 down 2.5%, to $2 billion, and with a 3% drop in domestic same store sales.

Sears will maintain spending levels for its advertising, which tops over $1 billion a year, Mr. Selby said.

"As a company, we believe in the power of marketing," he said.

However, he said spending will be shifted to provide added TV weight for the new effort, which will run on network prime-time and early morning shows. Sears also is returning to consumer magazines, such as People and TV Guide. Other efforts include mall-based media, in-store promotions, cinema, online and newspaper. Pre-print spending will be down, Mr. Selby said. The executions will continue through the holiday season.

Integrated campaign
The new campaign was developed following a creative shootout between Sears' two agencies, WPP Group's Young & Rubicam, Chicago, which generally handled soft lines, or clothing sales, and sister shop Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, which traditionally handled hard lines such as appliances and automotive. All of Sears' agencies -- Burrell Communications Group, Chicago; Mendoza Dillon & Associados, Newport Beach, Calif.; Kang & Lee, Los Angeles and New York; and A. Eicoff & Co., Chicago; and ADB, Chicago -- will use the approach in their work, Mr. Selby said.

Although Y&R won the shootout, and future executions will include pushes for both hard and soft lines, Ogilvy remains Sears' agency, Mr. Selby stressed. He said Ogilvy will integrate the campaign into sales for its auto centers and dealer stores -- for which Sears will continue to have a dedicated ad budget -- as well as hardware stores. He also said Sears' private-label lines, such as Kenmore and Die Hard batteries, generally handled by Ogilvy, will also have "appropriate levels of [marketing] investment."

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