Best Buy brings staff expertise back to its marketing

The pandemic has kept the retailer from showing off "Blue Shirts" in its ads, but a new chat platform is letting it once again show their importance in the omnichannel journey.


A big thing Best Buy has leaned into during the pandemic is how the technology it stocks can enrich peoples’ lives, be it in helping them pursue new passions or adapt to their new normals.

But with the launch of a new chat function on its ecommerce platform, it can do that while also incorporating something else that has been core to its brand for years: the expertise of its staff.

The new spot, developed with creative agency Union, is an evolution of the retailer’s pandemic messaging and, according to James Pelletier, marketing director for Best Buy Canada, it shows how the company “has been able to stand up new technologies for our customers.”

One new technology spotlighted by this ad is Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Chat – an online version of the conversations customers were able to seek out with the retailer’s employees in-store before the pandemic.

Knowledgeable advice is “a key pillar” for Best Buy, explains Pelletier, so showing customers how they can still receive it is important. “Tech enthusiasts love us because of that piece of the puzzle,” he says.

But due to the pandemic, the retailer faced a challenge: it couldn’t demonstrate the advice customers can receive from a Blue Shirt in the traditional way. Whether it be because it couldn’t shoot on-location in stores or because it wasn’t relevant or appropriate with restrictions on retail, “it hasn’t made sense for us to use a shot inside the store or to include a Blue Shirt,” says Pelletier.

Ads last summer focused less on Best Buy’s expertise and more on assortment of technology and ecommerce shopping options, while also looking at new environments for working and learning for kids and adults, and showing how it could be relevant.

But now, Best Buy has new customer service technology, and while the retailer is still showing how it can be relevant to situations as varied as becoming an influencer, setting up a home theatre and enjoying some virtual experiences, it is now able to show off its expertise and the role it plays in leading shoppers to the right purchase for what they are looking to do.

“We show the customer shopping on the website, we use an exterior shot of the store and we show her using the Blue Shirt Chat,” Pelletier says. “The exciting thing is those are really the key parts of our omnichannel customer journey.”

But it was equally important for the retailer to show how the technologies deliver on consumer passions, because the tech enthusiasts who make up its core target audience are always seeking out the newest and greatest devices, he says.

“This spot isn’t about the pandemic,” he adds. “But it is speaking to the universal truth that we can accomplish all of these goals and do all of these things and enrich our lives through technology, and that is even more true and more important during COVID than it was previously.”

The campaign launched May 3 and is running on TV and digital. Media planning and buying was handled by Media Experts and Best Buy Canada’s internal digital team.