use lure of children's literature
By Lauren Beckham Falcone
November 23, 2007
Since 1947, the holiday movie “Miracle on 34th Street”
has helped build brand awareness for Macy’s. What can
other department stores do to appeal to kids - who in a
few short years will have charge cards of their own?
Pen a children’s book.
Both Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue have introduced new
holiday picture books that may make loyal consumers out
of the kiddies. Neither department store appears within
its own tales, but the cross promotion is dizzying.
Saks is the exclusive seller of “Snowpeople”
(HarperCollins, $16.95), a 21-page picture book starring
a bunch of snow folk who want to express their
individuality through - wait for it - trendy clothes.
The chain is also featuring the characters in its window
displays, hand-painted ornament collection, greeting
cards and more.
The Great Snowpeople Hunt - think of it as Where’s Waldo
meets the Wicked Wealthy - challenges customers to count
the hidden snowpeople in the Saks holiday catalog.
Players who submit their guesses online or in-store are
eligible to win a 21-day cruise to Antarctica.
Nordstrom’s “Once Upon a Holiday” (Chronicle Books,
$16.95), which was written by Nordstrom copy editor
Randy Schliep, features a little girl named Sophie, who
teams up with a cow, an owl and the moon to save
Christmas. The book is available at Nordstrom stores
nationwide, and the art inspired the chain’s 2007
Characters from the book will appear in Nordstrom store
displays, catalogs, gift cards, holiday bags and on the
Web site. In addition, the department store is selling a
holiday music CD with “Once Upon a Holiday” art on the
cover, as well as “Once Upon a Holiday”-inspired kids’
T-shirts and pajamas.
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of department
store operators peddling their own children’s books.
“What these stores are trying to do is create
cradle-to-grave brand loyalty,” said Susan Linn,
director of the Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood
at the Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston.
“That’s why they’re starting with kids,” Linn said.
“They’re also trying to get kids to nag their parents to
go to these stores.”
Linn said parents should buy a children’s book because
it offers a wonderful story or engaging characters.
“It’s just sad this kind of product placement is even
extending to children’s books now,” she said.
Both chains will give back, however. Nordstrom will
donate $10,000 to Friends of Libraries USA. Saks will
give $2 from every copy of “Snowpeople” sold to St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital and $1 for every Great
Snowpeople Hunt submission up to $50,000.
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