Sears caters to the Undead with new Zombie Website
Department store giant Sears is hoping to target a key demographic early from the impending zombie apocalypse, complete with tagline, ‘Afterlife. Well Spent.’ But seriously, their Halloween-themed website re-design is fun, attention-grabbing and benefiting from the use of social media. Let’s see what the buzz is about.
Sears.com gets Zombified
The Undead can be very finicky when it comes to fashion and appliances, so Sears geared a website completely to them. From top to bottom, this page takes on the fun Halloween theme of the walking dead, and pretends to cater to them with great photos and text.
The featured content gallery up top boasts ways to ‘revive’ your style with two lumbering zombies showing off Sears’ styles. Toning shoes are humorously advertised so zombies can get in shape ‘while they lumber’.
The Zombie Gift Guide lets you find the right gift for the important reanimated corpses in your life. For example, after describing my zombie as hungry, with an affinity towards chilled brains (a true zombie culinary treat),
I was recommended to buy a refrigerator. It showed a brain being nicely cooled on a bed of lettuce, and assured me it was yummy in the zombie tummy.
There is also a simple Zombie Friend Maker where you can make an undead companion, complete with desktop background and avatar.
Finally, and my favorite part of the site, you can translate the entire page to Zombian,
a hilarious spoof off the grunts and groans of the undead in most movies. All of the text becomes a mixture of ‘brains’, ‘zombies’ and different moaning sounds, and we had a lot of fun pronouncing them in the office. Try it out!
EDIT: Thanks to two great comments, we discovered that Sears ripped this zombie-language off an established online community in the MMO Urban Dead. In fact, it is pretty much a direct copy of the zombie language in the game, called Zamgrh,and did not create it at all. Second edit below.
The Undead Tweet, appear in Sears videos
As we always stress, successful online campaigns often work hand-in-hand with smart social media. Sears isn’t doing anything revolutionary, but adds Twitter and YouTube aspects to this cool campaign to keep people engaged and sharing.
On Twitter, you can follow @zombieshopper. He is following 666 people (haha), and tweets pretty evenly between Sears’ offerings and being one of the undead. I particularly like this one, “Saw mesh shorts, read flesh shorts. #disappointing”. The Zombie Shopper also does a good job of retweeting and @ replying people, while mixing in pushes to the company website.
My Dead TV is the spinoff onto YouTube from the Sears zombie website. It’s not exactly gut-busting humor, but it works and it fits the website well.
One video shows Sears exercise equipment as the undead poorly bicycle and run on a treadmill. The spokesman is intentionally over the top and annoying, so we can all cheer when he meets his demise at the end of the shoot.
Another funny spot has zombie women talking about the outerwear selections at Sears, but translated into English. The last video, Zombie Elevator, shows you why is never pays to be nice and help out a zombie. Each video ends with the jingle “come see the softer side of Sears” done by a groaning member of the undead. Pretty funny stuff.
Takeaway from the Sears redesign
Out of all the websites that would try to pull this off, I bet Sears was one of your last picks. But I think they did it pretty well. It is well-designed, has a lot of different options, and uses social media well. The humor isn’t fantastic and some of the options could use some more content but, overall, I think this was a clever campaign most large companies would have never tried.
Regardless of your product, remember the marketing potential of Halloween. The horror genre has a wide reach and has many small niches to cater to. With how overblown vampires have become, choosing the zombie was a smart choice but gave Sears a lot to work with. How can your company use Halloween or any holiday as a tie-in or theme to your product.
Also, remember this was not a huge cost to advertise
this creatively. They kept it simple and now are developing a lot of buzz through social media and traditional media simply reporting on the website. Your website redesign doesn’t have to break the bank, it just has to get people talking.
EDIT: Copying the Zombie language is without a doubt plagiarism, and we’d like to deduct major points from this campaign for lacking creativity. Marketers, don’t copy other ideas, and credit what you borrow from. Apart from ethics, there could be lawsuits involved.
Did you like the zombie theme of the Sears website? Which features and content were your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!
Stay with the Social Medianaires for the latest in advertising updates and social media tips as we continue our Halloween-themed articles all week, starting off with the zombified Sears campaign.