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Tide, Levi’s, and Sears: Ads for the Recession

Hand-me-downs, Lay-a-way, Looking for Work: the new wave of advertising. It’s no surprise that the three companies we feature are longstanding retailers: Levi’s Jeans, Tide, and Sears. All have survived turbulent financial times and their recent campaigns show how they integrate family survival messages into their marketing.

Levi's Frontier Ad

The recession is turning the ad world around from its dedication to bling over the past few years. Ads featuring a carefree lifestyle with spoiled children have been replaced by cautious, careful messaging. No longer is it cool to flash the good life everyday when so many in the country are experiencing tough times. However, retailers still need to sell. Walking the line between suggesting your product and pushing your product is tough but three got it right.

WATCH: Levi’s – Ready to Work YouTube Channel

The jeans company has lived through several economic downturns. During this one, they’re using the power of social media to push their point while focusing on the plight of the everyday woman/man. The graphics are stunning and the stories are real. (Looks like they’re using actors to tell these stories, but real cities like Braddock, PA are featured. Great to watch.

WATCH: Tide – My Sister’s Jeans


The young tweener stands in front of the mirror and says, “I’m in love with these $100 jeans – but am I wearing them? No. I’m wearing my sister’s jeans.” The concept of hand-me-downs has returned. Seriously, when is the last time you’ve seen an ad for passed on clothing? Again, the best way for Tide to sell itself is to recognize where people are – and make it cool to keep the clothes.

WATCH: Sears Layaway Commercial

“Choose now. Pay over time.”

Three ladies corner the deliveryman and wonder how the neighbor can afford a new washer and dryer. The underlying message is that everyone on the street is hurting – no one can afford to buy right now. Sears says, “of course you can with careful planning and saving.”  The cul-de-sac crew now has to worry about money and the long-time company knows how to make them comfortable with the wait for it method of purchase.

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This entry was posted on 09/01/2010 by in Ad Love, All About the Business.
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