Hudson’s Bay focuses on little moments in return to mass holiday advertising

The retailer's new in-house creative director says the campaign comes ahead of more "new and exciting" work in 2020.

Hudson's Bay2

Hudson’s Bay is using the holidays to highlight the small-but-meaningful moments of the season, returning to mass platforms as it gears up for its 350th anniversary next year.

Debuted on Nov. 11, “Moments” portrays Canadians relishing quiet moments with family and friends during what is often a hectic holiday season. The video also serves to showcase the breadth of the products available at Hudson’s Bay.

Daniel Koppenol, who joined as VP and creative director from Roots in September, led the in-house creative team behind the campaign. While Koppenol’s role is not altogether new for Hudson’s Bay, he says no one has occupied the post for some time. “Moments” is also the first piece of work to go-to-market under newly appointed SVP of marketing Meghan Nameth, a former managing director at PwC Canada’s One Analytics practice.

“What’s unique at Hudson’s Bay from other retailers and brands in Canada is our history and heritage with Canadian holiday moments,” Koppenol says. The creative aims to “shine a light on those meaningful moments and, particularly, those meaningful moments that often go unseen.”

This, he says, is in contrast to the many retailers that opt to focus instead on the specific moment of a gift exchange. “As a brand and a retailer that has been part of those moments for literally hundreds of years, we feel like that’s a unique and ownable place for us to play and something that our customers will resonate with.”

In recent years, Hudson’s Bay has focused primarily on digital advertising over the holidays. This year, the new 30-second spot is airing nationally in cinemas and on specialty TV, with six- and 60-second versions running on social and digital channels. Creative will be in market until Dec. 24.

“Moments” is the more emotional piece of a holiday strategy based on positioning the retailer as a go-to gifting destination for the holidays.

Earlier this month, the company debuted “Unwrap the Wow,” an online extension of its gift guide that features a curated selection of gifts under $50. This year’s holiday window displays at its Queen Street flagship in Toronto were also revealed last week, which for the first time include “interactive audience elements” that respond and react to the people watching outside.

Koppenol says there’s a lot of work underway at Hudson’s Bay to get it to show up in “new and exciting ways” next year when it celebrates its 350th anniversary as a company, although he isn’t able to share any details about what that work might look like.

“There’s a natural evolution that’s happening with Hudson’s Bay as retail continues to shift and shift for the better,” he says. “As we look ahead to 2020, we’re going to see a lot more exciting work and holiday is kind of the spark around that.”

The holiday campaign comes at the end of a busy year for the Hudson’s Bay Company as it has looked to reverse its fortunes and slipping revenues. In addition to hiring Nameth to lead its marketing, the company sold its Lord & Taylor banner and entered into an arrangement to go private, which is still up for shareholder and regulatory approval.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the plans to take the company private are still up for shareholder and regulatory approval.