Christmas Tree in Kohl's "Holiday Suprise" commercial.

When Marketing Doesn’t Feel Like Advertising

When is the last time you watched a TV commercial more than once. On purpose.

321,837 YouTube ViewsWhile I was skipping past commercials during a program I’d recorded, one ad caught my eye. I actually skipped back to watch this “Holiday Surprise” commercial from Kohl’s. I was touched, and checked-out the #ShowKindness hashtag shown at the end of the video.

It hit a chord with me and I checked if the video was on YouTube. Clearly it resonated with many other people, since it had been watched hundreds of thousands of times. After watching it a couple more times, I shared it across several social media sites, like this post on Twitter:

Why Such a Big Impact?

The scene is touching, and the warm rendition of Forever Young by Sophia Shorai sure doesn’t hurt, but what is so different about this ad? It’s that they aren’t selling “stuff.” Rather, they are selling a feeling – and probably deep down hoping you’ll like the feeling, and want to buy some of their stuff.

Yes, you do get a few glimpses of Kohl’s bags. Other than that, the only text during the video is the name of the company, the #ShowKindness hashtag and their social media icons. No mentions of sales or prices, store hours, or breathless suggestions to buy now and beat the rush.

Some Commercials are Different

There have been other commercials that stuck with me (notably car ads) because of the feeling they left rather than the product they talked about. That seems to be working for other folks too. People are talking, blogging, and sharing in social media, and the response seems overwhelmingly positive. I haven’t yet bought into the idea that all publicity is good publicity. and apparently Kohl’s hasn’t either.

Bottom Line: If more companies produced thoughtful marketing like this, there wouldn’t be as many people skipping past the ads.

Just for the record, I have no business or financial connection with Kohl’s. I’m just enthusiastic about this ad, and would love to see more like it from Kohl’s and other companies. How about you?

Update: You can now find the video here

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