Op-Ed

The Softer Side of Sears is still Hard

New York Spring 2009

New York Spring 2009

DALLAS, Aug 18, 2008 / FW/ — In the 1990s, when Sears launched its ‘Softer Side of Sears’ campaign, the iconic American retailer made a 180 degree turn with its high profile attention to women.

Traditionally known for practical items like washing machines, tools and auto parts, Sears reinvented itself about a decade ago. And now, it is time to raise the bar once more. From the ‘Softer Side,’ Sears now wants you to see its ‘chic’ side.

With a lifestyle exhibit at New York’s Bryant Park and the launch of a clothing line in collaboration with LL Cool J in the offing, Sears might have a chance of being seen as ‘stylish’ the same way that consumers have perceived them for almost a hundred years as the ‘go to’ place to buy barbecue sets and motor oil.

Unfortunately, a century of being ‘hard’ is not very easy to put aside. Four phone calls at Sears to confirm about the lifestyle exhibit and the new line by LL Cool J turned out to be a dud.

Calling their press office always ends up with a computer telling you to press numbers and then end up in voicemail. Reaching the executive offices, and speaking with a human there turned out to be a dud also.

Instead of being helpful, all the woman said was, ‘If you get voicemail, that means that they will have to call you back to give you the answer to your question.’

Huh? What is that? What is so secret about a lifestyle exhibit and the launch of a clothing line during fashion week? It has been announced. The call was to confirm whether the exhibit would be INSIDE the tent or OUTSIDE the tent.

Perhaps, Sears is NOT DESTINED for chicness after all if they cannot even answer simple question in fashion, are you IN or OUT?

[MARI DAVIS]