Best brand finale: Zellers

The retailer ends on a high note.

The end of an era is near and Zellers is going out with a bang. With incumbent retailer Target planning its Canadian debut, the 80-year-old Canadian chain has been slowly liquidating all of its stores since last year, with the final door set to close in March. But Zellers has held its head high by taking a light-hearted and often humourous approach to the closure.

Jennifer Zedic, director of marketing, Zellers, says, “By taking the high road we have continued the brand essence, which is all about fun.”

The retailer presented John St. with the challenge of creating a campaign through social media. Zellers first launched the “Festive Finale” Facebook campaign in November of last year, giving consumers the power to decide which products would go on sale and even what holiday music should be played in stores.

A video memo from the (fictional) executive managing director of Zellers announced senior management was taking early retirement and leaving its Facebook fans in charge of the store’s final holiday sale.

The second campaign called “Zellers Memory Showcase” rolled out this spring and invited Facebook fans to share personal memories. Several of them were remade into humorous YouTube videos such as a man proposing to his girlfriend in a Zellers restaurant.

The final Facebook campaign, “Everything Must Go,” launched in September and includes weekly prize giveaways where winners can choose items such as a PS3, random consumable goods like a can of tuna, or even pieces of the store like an ice cream scoop from the diner or safety cone from the floor. The campaign also includes a giveaway of the Zellers mascot Zeddy, in which companies can submit a story about why they are worthy of adopting the bear costume. Facebook fans will determine the winner.

“We hope that a charitable organization that works with children will submit a case to adopt Zeddy so we know he is going to a worthy cause,” says Zedic. “We will also donate $5,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice.”